Yesterday I got to hangout with some really amazing people in Portland, Oregon, the GutMonkey crew! What is a GutMonkey you might ask? Well, it's not a what, but a who. They are an outdoor experiential education company with close ties to our hemophilia community. But they are so much more than just a company; they are an exceptional group of people that want to use their unique wilderness skills to change our community's perspective on how hemophiliacs seek adventure.
Pat Torrey is the head monkey and started the company in 2005. He has a wealth of knowledge in the outdoor world, especially with knots, as he knows hundreds of them! He designed and built high ropes courses for years, and after a chance meeting with someone in our community, Pat got sucked in and has never left. His brother Joe joined a few years ago to make this a family affair and Jacose Bell joined a little over two years ago to round out the group.
One of their missions as a company is to help facilitate emotional and physical growth through outdoor experiences. I have a shared vision with GutMonkey; to inspire people to be adventurous and genuine. GutMonkey creates those moments by running week long trips in some of the most beautiful places in the United States called Leading X. Their Leading Edge program teaches teens about leadership skills in conference and camp settings. They run an amazing strictly Hemophilia B program called GenIX which emphasizes mentoring while men with inhibitors go camping and on ropes courses on their Leverage program. They provide people in the bleeding disorder community with unbelievable experiences and the confidence to do more and Be Brave!
I joined them on one of their Leading X programs last year on the Green River in Utah. It was an incredible journey, not just because of the spectacular views, but because of the friends I found and the bonds I made. There is something special about sitting around the campfire after a long day of adventure and physical work and reminiscing about how each of us were affected. It's easier to connect with one another and be honest about your feelings and thoughts about the world. I will never forget that trip, and I'm so excited for the group heading out to the river this year to get to build some of their own memories!
Please check out this incredible company and their programs here and join one of their trips! Few people get the chance to experience these magical wonders while being led by such experienced and fun people. I guarantee you won't regret it!