Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

It’s a little out of the blue, but in the past couple of months I have started writing content for a children’s alphabet book that I plan to self-publish. Eventually, I want to throw it up on Kickstarter for direct funding, but, for now, I’m just trying to gain a little momentum and visibility to help launch the project.

A little bit about the book: A mother/daughter duo go on a camping trip. Throughout their journey they learn, discover, and find fun in different elements of the trip. Thus, each letter of the alphabet would be represented by different objects/elements from the trip:

A is for Adventure

LoLo and Rain are going on an Adventure!

To discover the world and make memories together.©

Fortunately, Fatherly, in association with the United Nations Foundation, has selected my book project as a finalist for their Fatherly Fund! This means that if my project receives the most votes by 2/15 (by the way, voting is very easy), I will be awarded a $1000 grant to go towards my project.

Here’s how you can help! (steps below)

  1. Visit https://www.fatherly.com/jeremy-chan-1578384635.html
  2. Sign up for Fatherly or sign in with Facebook or Twitter (don’t worry, there’s no spam)
  3. Click to vote for my project
  4. SHARE SHARE SHARE <—- this is the real money maker and how my project will get major visibility

I’m pretty excited about this for a couple of reasons. The first being that this idea, which practically began with me trying to come up with words that rhyme with “adventure,” was even considered and evaluated by a popular network like Fatherly (they’ve got like, 168k followers on Facebook). Second, regardless of whether or not I receive the grant, I’m going forward with the book! I’d love to create something tangible that my daughter can hold in a few months and would be ecstatic to see her face when I tell her that she was my main inspiration for this book.

So, please take a quick minute (literally) to vote for my project and another minute (also, literally) to share with your network and let’s publish this book together!

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Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

Why I’ll Never Stop Exploring with The North Face

As I was packing up to leave work Friday afternoon, I grabbed my North Face Recon backpack from the corner and threw in my personal belongings – reading glasses, portfolio, Hydro Flask – along with my work laptop. Suddenly an overwhelming sense of excitement welled up inside me. Maybe it was the anticipation that Friday afternoon brings or maybe because I was watching “Congo” when I wrote this or perhaps The North Face does that good of a job with storytelling, but I felt like I was preparing to head back into the field on some important mission, grabbing nothing but the essentials and hurriedly stuffing them away. When I finished zoning out, backpack zippers in hand, it occurred to me that I’ve now owned this pack for over ten years. Queue the nostalgia…

When I graduated high school, my dad thought it was also time for me to upgrade my backpack. The old, trustworthy JanSport still had some juice left, but my dad and I both felt like it was time for me to adopt a newer, mature companion for my next journey to adulthood. So, we took a trip to REI to purchase my first North Face backpack (and first TNF item for that matter). Combing through the aisles of myriad product and eyeing every hang tag, I couldn’t believe packs could cost that much; this was no longer a $30 trip to Target! Though I was but a naive teenager at the time, I now realize that it was a lesson in investing. Not only did this pack take me through college, it carried me through graduate school, a two year stint in Mammoth Lakes, numerous road trips and day trips, and 10 countries not counting the re-visits (that’s more than one country per year that I’ve owned the pack!) During the summer months, when it wasn’t serving as my book bag or carry-on, it sufficed as a beach bag. For the short getaways, my overnighter. Now, as a responsible adult and family man, it’s my office bag (but still a trustworthy carry-on). And to think, I considered getting something else for work. For shame…

Earlier I said this was my first TNF backpack, but it was also my last. In actuality, I haven’t needed another one. Sure, I’ve purchased a couple of different packs here and there, but they haven’t lasted nor lived up to my expectations set by TNF. However, a couple of years ago I purchased my second TNF pack – the Base Camp duffel. To a good extent, and sometimes to my wife’s discontent, I can be a brand-snob; I really care to buy products from specific companies. Maybe it’s my consumerist habits or that I worked for a company who taught me about proper brand management. In most instances, I simply appreciate quality – and the companies that “get it” and do things right, those that respect and help to progress the industries of which they’re a part. That said, I was very particular and intentional when purchasing this bag, so much so that I had to sell a heap of belongings, including an Ikea futon, at a local swap meet just to make enough money to purchase this specific duffel. And just like my Recon backpack, this bag has carried its weight (pun intended). It’s my go-to when traveling  – locally or internationally, overnight or week-long. Keeping with tradition, it now serves as the family beach bag in-between camping trips. I even convinced my brother to purchase his own, and I’m pretty sure his has been promoted from daily gym bag to Ragnar relay supplies carrier.

I hoped to write this letter in another decade, when 20 years seems more significant than ten, but I felt compelled to share my story and express my affinity for The North Face. I can’t say for certain that I’ll still own these packs by then, though with their track record I wouldn’t be surprised. Besides, all that’s been damaged to my backpack so far are the zipper tabs for the main compartment and the elastic draw chord for the beverage holders. No other rips, holes, or tears.

So, for the loyalty that my backpack (and, as an extension, The North Face) has shown me, I am grateful and hope to return the favor. In 17 or18 years, when my daughter graduates high school (and God willing any other kids we have), I hope to take her to REI to purchase her own TNF backpack. Maybe we’ll do it sooner, maybe not. Either way, I’d like to think that this little trip will act as a rite of passage where I, too, can teach my kids about investment, value, and quality – and to never stop exploring.

Why I’ll Never Stop Exploring with The North Face

New Beginnings

While sitting on my couch, I face a purple haze hovering above the White Mountains. The sun is setting behind Mammoth Mountain, leaving a golden glow along the horizon. As I take a more panoramic view out of my window, I realize that in just one night a white blanket managed to cover the entire town of Mammoth Lakes. All of this gets me thinking about how much God moved this past weekend.

The Station hosted SFC USA’s annual conference during the last three days, and along with meeting new family members and getting happily reacquainted with old ones, there was also something quite awesome about what happened, particularly with the weather pattern. On the day that the conference attendees arrived the winds started to blow in, giving signs of an imminent storm. The following two days would prove a test to many attendees’ will-power in facing the natural elements that they weren’t used to. Inside the Lodge was warmth, fellowship and communion with God. Outside was a war-zone. I’m surprised there weren’t more cranky people throughout the weekend because I often heard concerns about the cabins tipping over due to the winds. Even while on the mountain the weather didn’t seem to let up. It was as if mother nature tried to keep us down and curse us with 80mph gusts and icy park conditions. But it was still fun. A lot of fun.

On the last day of the conference, the weather finally started to ease up. The winds had ceased and the snow began to fall straight down, softly covering the town pure and clean. As the day carried on, the clouds rolled out and the end result of nature’s wrath proved to be a gift as the town was transformed overnight into a surreal winter heaven.

All of this to say that the journey for new and old SFC chapter reps and SFC USA, in general, was marked by God with the weather. The arrival of the conference attendees/start of the new season for each rep was and is faced with a storm, whether it be crazy winds, ice, discouragement, fear, or fatigue. But at the end of the weekend, when the reps received encouragement and hope in fellowship with God, He blessed all of us overnight with a clean slate. He wiped away all the junk and dirt in our lives and in this town with a simple breath. Now the world as we see it is almost unrecognizable yet still very familiar. It offers a new beginning, a sign of peace and renewed vision.

My hope is that each and every rep take note of this revelation He’s given me and let it pervade your lives and ministries back in your town. God totally showed me that He’s ready to bless all of you for the work you’re doing if you just brace the storm with Him. And when you make it through, the work you’ve done together is going to be beautiful and pure.

New Beginnings

Authenticity vs. Growth

Nowadays, I think a big problem in action sports is for companies to maintain their integrity while the industry picks up momentum and becomes more mainstream than it already is. The following video was a keynote address by Doug Palladini, VP of Marketing for Vans, at group Y’s Action Sports Conference 2010. I think he pretty much nailed it on the head in regards to how companies, endemic and non-endemic, can stay true to their brand and their fans while still focusing on the bottom line in a growing industry.

Action Sports Conference 2010: Doug Palladini – Vans from group Y on Vimeo.

Authenticity vs. Growth

The Rad(z) Ones

I found out last night that a local Mt. High rider, Mikey Radziwon, passed away in a street bike accident. Don’t know the details, but regardless it’s a terrible and heavy thing to hear.

I didn’t know him personally, nor did I ever get to take any laps with him, but I do know a few people that were close to him and knew him on and off the mountain. Needless to say, it’s a really sad day in the Mt. High and snowboarding community.

I’m in no position to exploit the feelings of others, and I’m not writing this to try and fit in with those who did know Mikey and are truly saddened by his passing, but seeing how that mountain has played an important part in my personal and snowboarding development I wanted to write something in honor of him.

Mikey was an inspirational rider for me and a few of my buddies. He had one of the nicest styles that would probably take me at least couple more seasons to get at. He was one of those guys who, if you saw him on the mountain, you’d want to ride with but were too intimidated to say what’s up because he’s just that good (i.e. almost pro-ho status). He was one of those guys who knew that snowboarding was just about having fun, and you’d see that come alive in his riding and the way he interacts with everybody.

I’m not going to be at Mt. High a lot this season, but I know it’s going to be hard for a lot of the locals and staff to enjoy the winter. Even though I didn’t know him on a personal level, I’ll be sure to take a few laps in honor of him and I hope and encourage some of you to do the same.

Rest in peace, Mikey.

The Rad(z) Ones

For Craig…

True Method

I probably should’ve posted this yesterday in memory of the late great Craig Kelly, but for some reason it just slipped my mind.  A lot of kids nowadays probably never even heard of him let alone know why he’s famous.  I mean, he was almost at the peak of his career around the time I was born so I barely know who he is.  I do know, however, that many if not all of us owe him a bit of gratitude and respect.  Without Craig there might not be such a thing as freeriding like we know it today, and style wouldn’t exist.  He also understood the spirit of snowboarding and gave the mountain the respect it deserves.

Checking the dailies yesterday, and I came across this tribute on TWSnow.com: Keys to Reality

It’s a pretty short editorial, but the article written by Ken Achenbach is killer – definitely stirs up some emotions.  Albeit, things have changed nowadays in regards to sponsorships and the like, especially with a weakening economy and poor winter conditions due to “climate change,” I think many of us who participate in the sport can relate to the article on one level or another.  The article is from Jan. ’92 and is one of Craig’s favorites.  If you can figure out why, then you can guess where Craig’s heart lies and why he was such a positive influence on the snowboarding community.

I won’t make this blog about the pros and cons of selling out because there are great rationales for both (e.g. making money and riding all year vs. “keepin’ it ‘core”), but I do want to say that no matter where you sit on the fence, you’ll always have the keys in your pocket.  The difference is which one you choose to throw out and why.

“Enjoy the journey…”

For Craig…

Birds of a feather…

Whenever I think or hear of snowboarding and snowboarders, what usually comes to mind is individuality – not just in people’s personalities but in tricks, clothing and pretty much everything else that’s associated with the sport. I hear a lot of people trying/wanting to be different from one another, riding with their own unique style, which I think only drives the creativity and progression of the sport. It also allows people to be comfortable with themselves and not care too much of what others think. And that’s how it should be! Who cares if your pants are tucked into your boots or if you stuff a fat beanie under your helmet? We’ve all probably been there before, and none of that should matter because we’re all on the mountain for the same reason.

Amidst the differences between each person lies something that we all share and have in common – passion. No matter if you wear tight pants or baggy tall tees, you can’t deny that you simply love to snowboard. It’s a universal element that’s shared by the newbie on the bunny run to the pro hitting 60ft. kickers, and in no other time have I seen this passion more prevalent than in the past 5 days.

Many participants and fans of snowboarding have most likely heard about the unfortunate situation regarding Kevin Pearce.

Kevin

In a nutshell, one the top U.S. Olympic hopefuls was critically injured while practicing to secure his spot on the team. He’s currently sedated at a hospital in Salt Lake City until further notice, but he’s definitely not alone and not the only one feeling the pain. Setting aside any differences in style, vernacular and reason, I’ve never seen a community of people come together and show/share as much love and support for one person as I have seen in the past few days. It seems that everyone in the snowboarding community has sent positive vibes and prayers to the entire Pearce family. Although Kevin is still under, doctors say he’s doing a lot better albeit has a long recovery ahead of him. Regardless of how long it takes for him to be dropping double corks again, it’s truly inspiring to see the camaraderie and fellowship of the snowboarding community come together during this tough time. It’s as if we’ve all got a brother in the hospital and are eagerly waiting for him to check out. My point is that we can all try to be as different and unique as we want, but when it comes down to it we have one thing that keeps us on the mountain, keeps us all connected, and keeps us all hoping and praying for Kevin and the entire Pearce family. Hang in there, man!

To stay up to date on Kevin’s latest condition, visit the official Facebook page here

Birds of a feather…