“As I board a fancy white leather clad boat on tiny dock with one fluorescent light at the end, on the humid Island of Tortola in the BVI’s after a long 23hrs of flying, I look up into the star peppered sky as we pull off into the darkness and I think to myself. Why me? Of the 7.5 billion people on the earth I am right here right now in this present moment in time, on a boat tearing across the Caribbean sea to Sir Richard Branson’s island for the second time in my life.”
The weekend was about “Forgiveness & Gratitude.”
The trip was for a select few of Horatio Alger students. We were there to hear their story and what their plans are for the future. It was a truly amazing experience. The whole concept of the event was “Gratitude and Forgiveness.” Everyone there was all there for a reason at that moment in time. Everyone as a collective taught me an abundance. It was even more food for the soul. At the event everyone spoke so openly, which is rare in a room with a bunch of strangers. Everyone stood up to the mark and gave it 100%. Amanda Lindhout, Kim Phúc and Jackie & Warren Hance were some of the main speakers.
Amanda Lindhout is a Canadian humanitarian and journalist. On August 23, 2008, she and members of her entourage were kidnapped by Islamist insurgents in southern Somalia. She was released 15 months later on November 25, 2009, and has since embarked on a philanthropic career. In 2013, she released the New York Times bestseller A House in the Sky: A Memoir, in which she recounts her early life, travels as a young adult, and hostage experience.
Phan Thị Kim Phúc is a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The iconic photo taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut shows her at nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a napalm bomb by a South Vietnamese attack.
Jackie & Warren went from living a quiet, private life with their family in a small town on the outskirts of New York City to making international headlines when tragedy struck. They lost all three of their children in a senseless car accident on July 26, 2009. Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance died at the ages of 8, 7, and 5. In the aftermath of the accident, donations to Jackie and Warren began to flow in. Their response was selfless and immediate: “we should help other children.” Honed over time to a sharp focus, Jackie and Warren created and led the Hance Family Foundation with a vision of hope and love.
To hear Amanda’s, Kim’s and Jackie & Warren’s horrific stories 1st hand was a lot for me to take. I have never had to think of such pain. I know this sort of pain exists in the world but when you put a face to a story it makes the pain a whole lot more real, you can feel it right in the bottom of your gut. To see and hear them tell their stories and then to tell us that they have forgiven the people on the other end really was an eyeopener and a heart opener. That they have forgiven the people who put such pain on them, their families and everyone else involved really made me think, Could I do it? Could you? After hearing them, it made me think that I should forgive. Not only is it better for the person who has done wrong but more for me. There is no point in keeping that grudge on your shoulders, it’ll get heavy after a while. I’m not saying it is or will be an overnight thing but its something i’ll work on from now on. I have to.
In between talks we heard what the Horacio Alger Scholars had to say, I don't even know where to begin. What struck me the most was how special these guys really are. What blew me away was the strength they had. The strength to stand up and tell their story, be confident in their future plans and tell the world how they are going to consciously try make this place better for everyone. I kept thinking back at how I was at that age. I was far from shy but I didn't know exactly who I was or exactly what I wanted to do with my life. They did, and it was so inspiring and refreshing to hear good coming from the mouths and minds of the younger generation of our planet who are going to carve the future of our world.
Also speaking was Jane Seymour & Peter Asher. The stories of rock n roll, movies, music from the “Golden Era” was special for me. I eat, breathe and sleep that kind of history on a daily basis and try to style my life, which is my music, in that fashion. To hear 1st hand inside stories about them people rocks my world. They talked about the Beatles, Glen Campbell and the good old days. Need I say any more.
Lastly I’d like to say thank you to my good friends Glenn & Mindy Stearns. You are the most generous people I know. Your ability to bring the right people together at any given time is so on point. Thank you for having Kelsey and I. And an extended thank you to every single new friend that I made on Necker.
I am grateful for every moment in life. The good and the bad. It molds me into the person am. I am grateful for that second of realization that I had on the boat on the way out to Necker. Its those little moments in life that make me realize whats going on around me and prepare me for the big moments.
Thanks Necker. Kx
Myself, Kelsey, Glenn, Mindy & Bear in Montana.
Myself & Kim Phúc
I gave Sir Richard a guitar as a thanks for having me stay last time. Me and the main man Glenn. Love you buddy.
The Entire Necker Family. Myself & Amanda Lindhout.
Jane, Myself and Kelsey. How does this all happen?
Kelsey and I happy out on Necker.Last modified on