Thirty years ago I moved to Marin County, California (North of San Francisco). I had completed my enlistment as a Marine and was starting a career in photojournalism. One Sunday afternoon a 9-year-old boy crashed his mini dirt bike in front of my home. He needed medical attention for his hand (gash) but his parents were out. I took him to a nearby clinic and on the way home gave him a safety lecture about gloves and helmets (I raced motorcycles while in college).
I learned that friendships developed from the shared experiences on the many trips that we took. I was able to use the school bus for these adventures and we frequently had 50 kids with us because of the trips popularity.
After 8 years of teaching I left on an aviation sabbatical (FAA Flight Instructor School). The Bolinas School program ended when I started teaching flying - the kids understood I wanted to achieve some personal goals. They even gave me their permission.
As time went by I was amazed to see that this original group of kids stayed connected in high school, college and work. They still have informal reunions and I see many of them every year. I have had the wonderful opportunity to now take the original groups children on our tours to the desert.
We will continue this proven tradition of excellent results with a broader range of students from the rest of the state and country.
Two weeks later he and 4 of his friends knocked on my door and asked if I would help them start a motorcycle shop at their school!
I assumed the school would say no but I could not deny their enthusiasm. When the school board approved the idea I was shocked and perplexed. I decided in favor of the kids and started the program with them.
Many parents were initially very negative but we eventually proved them wrong. The toughest kids in the school became real gentlemen and the others became real treasures.