Seize the Moment – It’s up to You!
Jay shares thoughts on how our response to ‘moments of opportunity’ can shape the trajectory of our lives for years to come.
If we are fortunate, every once in a very long while, some incredible life changing opportunity may enter our life. An unexpected moment, with the potential for breakthrough possibilities. It may be the kind of opportunity that you have dreamed of all your life – and suddenly, it’s right there in front of you. Your destiny about to be fulfilled. But that opportunity may also come with risk and the need for you to venture far beyond your comfort zone. So, the question will be ‘what to do?’ What to do when ‘lightning strikes…in a very good way?’
The truth is, opportunity tends to knock on our door in very unsuspecting ways. And the best opportunities don’t come very often. When they do come along, we may feel unprepared or like we’re not up to the task of seizing the moment. Yet, as we’ve discussed in previous editions of the Sunshine Report, if we take a moment to pause and think about how we’ve responded to other moments where we’ve been faced with adversity or a potentially life changing decision, you’ll find that you’ve not only risen to the occasion, but gone above and beyond your own expectations. What’s most important is to believe in yourself.
Back in the ‘90’s, Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky was asked why his shooting percentage was so high relative to the goals he scored. His reply was so profound because it sheds light on to a very important phenomenon. Turns out, when he was a rookie, his shooting percentage actually was very poor. He missed a lot of shots. But the point is that he wasn’t afraid to take the shots, saying “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” With continued risk taking and practice, taking more and more shots – he got better and better. So much so, that to this day, years later, he is still the all-time leading scorer in the NHL and with a very high shooting percentage!
Perhaps when opportunity arises, we fear what we don’t yet know, most notably whether or not we will fail. Yes, there may be great risk of failure, but even failure brings its own opportunities to learn and grow. It's essential to remember that when we believe wholeheartedly that we are destined to achieve, we manifest that with our every action. Not only that, but when we take advantage of opportunities, choose the risk of failure over the risk of inaction, opportunity has a fascinating way of multiplying. So, in those moments when ‘lighting strikes,’ I encourage you to act upon it, you’d be surprised what you can achieve when you do.
Charter Schools – Expanding Choice and Opportunity
Incredibly, there are already 29 charter schools operating in New Hampshire. Why is it that charter schools have become so attractive, gaining in popularity and becoming so prevalent here? Turns out New Hampshire is one of the friendliest charter school states in the country. And under the guidance of Commissioner Edelblut, more charter schools are being established all over New Hampshire!
As background, a charter school is a publicly run school that adapts the classroom to the student’s unique learning needs. The schools are based on a variety of beliefs, styles and philosophies, or they can be magnet schools on particular subjects.
There are two ways to incorporate a charter school: One, a town can accept authority to give money to a local school in their town, or two, the State Board of Education can approve the application of a charter school. Those approved by the State are then funded only by the state and not local taxpayers, while locally approved charter schools are funded using both state and local tax funds. Based on their ‘charters,’ these schools are then held accountable for their agreements with the town or state.
One major difference between charter and traditional public schools is that charter schools can set the number of students that can attend; therefore, the school population is not necessarily driven by the town population. Another difference is that charter schools are run by a Board of Trustees and not by the elected School Board of the town.
One of the major factors that explains the popularity of charter schools is their recognition that one style of education does not fit all. Charter schools vary from one another, each with its own strategy and positioning, delivering their education based on unique learning styles, principles, and even class sizes.
With a wave of new charter schools on the immediate horizon, it's exciting to see the diversity in approaches, adding to the richness of the ecosystem and most of all, providing choice, freedom quality education of the highest quality to families all throughout the Granite State.
Springing to Action - Volunteer Firefighters are Making a Difference
Driving on a busy road the other day, I was heading to my next meeting when I heard the sirens of a firetruck on its way to a call. I pulled over, so it could pass. Moments later I saw a pickup truck with flashing lights zoom by and I said to myself “that must be a volunteer firefighter and who’s responding to the same call!” As I drove on, I wondered “how many volunteer firefighters there are?” That evening, I took to the internet, made a few calls to friends who work with and as firefighters, and found these amazing statistics.
In the United States there are over 27,000 fire departments with 70 percentage of those being volunteers. Think about that for a moment: 7 of out every 10 fire fighters are volunteers. We, of course, hold first responders of all kinds in the highest regard. But, to think that 70 percent of firefighters are ‘volunteers’ who are willing to run into a burning building to save lives, is an amazing statistic. Volunteer firefighters and departments are on call no matter what. They sacrifice their own time after working a full-time job to be ready to respond.
A friend of mine recently visited a volunteer Fire Department in western Pennsylvania and discovered the volunteers are 100 percent responsible for the operating costs of their fire house. Albeit it’s a small budget that covers the upkeep of their gear, equipment, and even the fuel to keep the trucks on the road; however, not one penny is from tax dollars! It's all on them - either out of their own pocket or through hosting a series of fundraisers to ensure their firehouse remains open so they can help keep their community safe.
According to information from the International Fire Chiefs’ Association, the average cost of turnout gear (the term used for what a firefighter wears when responding to a fire) is $9,410 and only lasts on average 10 years. Volunteer Firefighters or their departments are already paying thousands of dollars to train and maintain their skills, and so now on top of that they are paying an additional $10,000 to volunteer their time every decade. And don’t forget there is still the equipment cost. Volunteer fire departments work hard to obtain private and public grants in order to purchase new equipment including the ‘Jaws of Life’ and other lifesaving pieces of equipment that reduce the time it takes to save a life. This particular firehouse in western Pennsylvania responded to over 325 calls in 2021. Which means on average there is nearly one call per day, and these calls need to be supported by a team of only 35 volunteer firefighters!
These are brave men and women to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude - sacrificing just to keep us safe day in and day out. So, the next time you see a firehouse hosting a fundraiser or see firefighters outside passing the boot to raise a few bucks, I encourage you to step up and help them because they help save and protect us every single day! You may remember the Smokey the Bear saying, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” With regards to volunteer firefighters, “It’s truly we who can help those who help us!"
Positive Profile of the Week: Ben Kilham
This week we are delighted to highlight a wonderful member of our New Hampshire community, Ben Kilham. Ben has been rehabilitating black bears in Lyme, New Hampshire since 1993, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Along with his nephew Ethan, Ben runs the Kilham Bear Center which offers sanctuary to cubs that have for one reason or another lost their mother. He has become the foremost bear rehabilitation expert in New Hampshire. While these little cubs are very cute, the center is not open to the public as its goal is to release the bears back into the wild. Human interaction would impede that progress and make the bears more interested in some unwanted interactions in the wild!
Ben’s love of New Hampshire’s bear population is not limited just to rehabilitating them as he also works with the Fish and Game Department to actively collar and track our black bear population. This gives much needed insight into their movements and behaviors which has become much more important as New Hampshire’s ‘Southern Tier’ has transformed from dense woods to more suburban neighborhoods. Often mankind and bear-kind do not mix well, and Ben’s critical research helps identify problem areas hopefully avoiding conflict with our furry neighbors!
The next time you see a story about some cute bear cubs in New Hampshire, rest assured that Ben is on the job making sure our black bear friends are well taken care of and will be around for generations to come!
Quotes of the Week: Seize the Moment
“Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
“Dare to seize all the opportunities on your paths.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita
“The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” ― Eckhart Tolle
“Commitment is that turning point in your life when you seize the moment to alter your destiny.” ― Denis Waitley