Today’s young adults face many serious challenges as they enter into the intensely competitive world of higher education. Over just a few short years they must develop the skills needed to step out into a complex, rapidly evolving world where traditional moral and ethical values, long accepted ideologies, and the balances of international political, military and financial power are undergoing profound and permanent change. They will need to learn how to survive in a world that is experiencing tremendous economic instability, rapid technological change, multiple wars, revolutions and religious conflicts, and widespread dislocation and stresses caused by exponential population growth. Many of their most fundamental perceptions and assumptions about success, happiness, personal responsibility and ethics will be severely tested.

Most of these students will be living away from home for the first time, and they’ll be facing significant social and peer pressures. Some will experiment heavily with alcohol, or drugs, including a new generation of powerful “party” drugs that will cause some to become addicted, and others to become victims of sex crimes and STD’s. Car crashes involving substance abuse are now the number one cause of death for college students. Many students will find themselves saddled with huge debts from educational loans that often reach into the six figures – loans they may have difficulty paying off in the current economic malaise. The expectations and intense pressure to excel that are placed upon them have caused many to experience stress related conditions such as depression, addiction, eating disorders and irresponsible sexual behavior. Tragically, suicide is now the number two cause of death for college students in the 18-21 year age group.

Young adults are also members of a generation that has seen an alarming decrease in the amount of interaction it has had with nature over recent years, despite the fact that the therapeutic benefits people of all ages receive through regular contact with the natural world have been widely recognized. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of spending time in the outdoors, this disassociation has had a negative impact on their mental and emotional development because it has denied them a crucial source for indulging their natural instincts to explore, experiment, discover and question.

Brad Cook understands the challenges facing these students. He attended college and entered into the work force during a similarly turbulent period of history – the late 1960’s through early 1970’s. Having spent thirty five years in the public schools as a teacher, health educator, coach and mentor, he understands that the decisions young adults make today about their personal ethics, self-image, and how they choose to define such ambiguous concepts as happiness and success will play a critical role in determining their ability not only to lead happy, well balanced lives, but to make significant contributions to society as well.

Brad believes that traditional measurements of success based exclusively on financial and related achievements are no longer relevant, just as the metrics they were based upon – wealth, possessions, job titles and social status – have proven all too often to be illusory and transitory. Just as business majors realize that their own success depends on a well-designed business plan, today’s young adults must look inwardly to develop a personalized lifetime plan that will enable them to follow their dreams with passion and conviction, and to lead spiritually fulfilling lives regardless of the degree of external success they may achieve.

TRAIL DREAMS – DREAM BIG! is a program specifically designed for college students. In his relaxed and direct style Brad will describe his own transformational journey that led a young man from the depths of depression and hospitalization to a life of great happiness and contentment. He’ll introduce students to the Three Essential Needs for Happiness that have been passed down to us by our greatest thinkers over the centuries – these are the three basic requirements that all people need in order to achieve true happiness and inner peace. He’ll show attendees how to follow their dreams with courage and determination, focusing on self-awareness rather than on external measures of success. He’ll emphasize the need for a “return to nature,” on establishing lifetime goals, and on developing a healthy diet and physical fitness routine. He will also deliver a strong anti-drug message.

Please contact Brad or Samantha to schedule a workshop, or to obtain additional information about Trail Dreams programs.