Isn’t the internet something else? Sometimes it scares the hell out of me. I mean, Google has darn near mapped the entire planet. We knew what the street view of our hotel in Mexico would look like weeks before we arrived because we could “walk” down the street and get a 360 degree view on Google. Creepy! But then you take something like Facebook, which does have it’s own creep factor to be sure, and the next thing you know you’re connecting with people you haven’t seen, or maybe even thought about, in years and it enriches you in ways you never thought possible.

Case in point – Kristen Albrecht (now Hochmuth). We knew each other in junior high and high school, but we weren’t big buds. I came across her a few years ago on FB and have really enjoyed watching her beautiful daughters grow through the amazing photos her husband takes. I’ve never met her husband, Brett, but I just finished learning all about his new gig, G.O.A.L.S. (which stands for Get Outside and Learn Something) and now I feel like I have a good understand of what drives this man. See, amazing thing, that internet.

Brett Hochmuth is a middle school teacher, a photographer, and an avid kayaker. He’s combined his love of teaching the little people and being on a river into G.O.A.L.S., an organization whose mission is to “provide opportunities for unique learning experiences and inspire exploration on multi-day wilderness river trips.” These trips are part funded by the kids and their families and part funded by G.O.A.L.S. through donations and sponsorships. What I really like about this is that G.O.A.L.S. expects the kids to foot a 1/3 of the cost. The belief is that if the kids have to raise the money themselves (and the program coordinator will help them create a plan to do so) they will be more motivated to participate and engage with the experience. What a novel concept! Get kids outside and get them to understand the value of the experience by having to pay for some of it themselves. Brilliant! That aside, the reason the program kicks in for 1/3 the cost as well is in an effort to make the program affordable and open to participation.

I’ll admit that I’ve known about GOALS for a while and that it wasn’t until just recently that I took a closer look. What really peaked my interest were two blogs posts at The GOALS Blog. In one, Brett discusses the importance of programs like this and how fitness requirements for children have declined over the years. What really struck me was the fact that adults in Colorado are ranked #1 in fitness in the U.S. while Colorado children came in at 29th. Surely we can do better than that! Another post that caught my attention was a letter to Brett from one of G.O.A.L.S. participants. His eloquent words prove that G.O.A.L.S. is making a difference.

Whether you stop by the G.O.A.L.S. site to learn more, or to get your kids involved, or to make a donation, at least do yourself a favor and stop by to check out the amazing photos. I even watched the 15 minute slide show and I don’t watch 15 minutes of nothin’ online except for The Hills and The City. Yeah, I said it. I own it. So there.

Ultimately, this has all struck a chord with me. I’ll admit that I’ve been inclined to plop my nephew down in front of the TV to watch The Incredible Hulk when he’s over just so I can get a breather. Man, that kid sure does love him some old skool Lou Ferrigno. But now I’ll pay more attention to getting him outside learning something.

And so here’s my question for Brett: when are you going to start and adult program? Because I want to go!

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks for taking notice of what we’re doing, Anne- and especially for helping us to get the word out! In answer to your last question…every one of our programs requires a “big kid” to serve as their Program Coordinator! Got any ideas for local schools or youth groups you could help put a program together with??

    • Ooh! Good to know! I’ll have to look into it. I’ve got some nephews in their teens that might be interested and I would love to go with them! Thanks for the info and good luck moving forward with GOALS!

  2. Kris Hesbol

     /  July 8, 2010

    Your post today about G.O.A.L.S. is intriguing, Annie. Not only does this program get young people outside, actively exploring the wonder of Nature, but the opportunity to break through fears and to exceed personal goals they may never have considered. They learn critical life skills, like learning to depend on one another – heading into a Class II rapid for the first time in a 2-person duckie will do that for you :) An unintended outcome may be the development of environmental stewards – and budding social entrepreneurs.

    Thanks for sharing this, and for reminding us all what’s genuinely important in life. Play it forward – –


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    My mother is an encyclopedia of useless information (sorry, ma, but it's true) - no one can beat her at Trivial Pursuit. As I age, I become more like dear old mom everyday. I routinely tell people about resources, recipes, tips, tricks, or websites I've heard about, tried, live by, etc. until one of my clients urged me to start a blog. So here it is! My perpetual ramblings. I hope you find them useful and amusing. If you don't, you can either keep it to yourself or leave me a well constructed critique.

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