Name: Kodee Cloninger
Hometown: Bozeman, Montana
Current Occupation: Embracing seasonal employment
What does your life look like now?
I spend fall and spring working in Outdoor Education, my summers with VISIONS, and my winters between Montana and other places only accessible by passport.
What is it like to walk in your shoes every day?
In a literal sense, my shoes/feet are quite small, and some people think it is odd that I can stand with the limited amount of surface area they provide. So one might say it is a balancing act. My life is very full. An outsider might think I work long days and I do too many things within my job and don’t have much time for myself. An insider might say that my life is exhausting but worthwhile. It is full of responsibilities, laughter, community, adventure and some learning opportunities along the way. It is my version of bliss.
What does the word community mean to you?
Community means being surrounded by people who understand and accept you for your strengths and your weaknesses. Being able to laugh and cry together over the simplest of matters. Creating a family-like atmosphere outside of your nuclear family.
What did the VISIONS experience mean to you?
VISIONS has taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. Through its focus on community and communication it has given me the opportunity to accept myself for my greatest strengths and weaknesses.
What was most memorable about your VISIONS experience?
I vividly remember hiking up Putucusi in Peru, with six participants and Dan Herman, to get a sneak peek into the backside of Machu Picchu ruins one afternoon before hiking up with the full crew. The route up had definitely seen better days, with weathered ladders and steep terrain. Due to the quickly approaching sunset, we all pushed on. I led the crew up the mountain while Dan made sure no one got left behind. When I got there, first I took in the glory of the view and quickly decided to make the most of it for all the kids. I asked them to close their eyes on the approach, to soak in the raw reaction of the vista. I saw so much joy and amazement in those moments, but I don’t think anything beats the look on Dan’s face as he peeked into Machu Picchu with a new perspective. (see photo of Dan)
What is something that makes you hopeful for the future?
The passionate youth I meet through VISIONS and Nature’s Classroom, who are so much more aware of how they walk on this earth than I was at their age.
What do you feel is one of your greatest strengths that you have to offer the world?
The value I put on maintaining lasting relationships with people I connect with, however big or small that connection is.
In what ways, big or small, would you like to change the world?
There are so many answers for this, but I think something that is really pulling at my heartstrings lately is creating more educational opportunities and experiences for people who might not have money to invest in themselves.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Following my heart.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
If I knew what I will be doing a year from now I might have a better answer, but I plan on doing something I care about as much as I care about what I do now.
What would you like to say to other members of the VISIONS community?
I feel grateful to be part of such a caring and invested community.
Anything else to add?
Thanks for being more than a job.