Greg Johnson: A thank you to my mentor | SteamboatToday.com

Greg Johnson: A thank you to my mentor

— Every person can benefit from having a mentor in his or her life. Someone to help guide you through life's adventures and tribulations. Being able to ask for help and have a person to lean on oftentimes can be the difference in success or failure in any avenue of life.

I am grateful to many people in my life who have lifted me up. As National Mentoring Month comes to end, I would like to thank my friend Pete who has been an amazing friend and outdoor mentor.

I had grand ideas of becoming an avid outdoor enthusiast when I first moved to Colorado in 2007. However, I was a novice aside from the occasional hike. I needed guidance, patience and someone with a large gear closet.

I met my mentor, Pete, at the Yampa Valley Science Camp while we worked with the sixth-graders of Routt County. We became friends and to reference the movie Jeremiah Johnson, he would become "Bear Claw," to my "Jeremiah Johnson," showing me the ways of the mountains.

Our first experience together was a downhill ride on Spring Creek. With no idea what trail riding was like, next thing I knew I was biking in the moonlight of an October night through a light snow fall.

This would be a common theme to many of our adventures. He challenged me to push myself and toughen up. Sometimes I would curse him for taking me on terrain I was unprepared for, but like the old saying goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

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Whether I was falling though a tough tree run or he belayed me as I learned to climb, Pete had the utmost patience with me. Not only did he teach me the basics of our activities, but safety in our pursuits and how to have respect for the place I lived and played. He seldom asked me to speed up or showed any annoyance that he had to wait or teach. Without his calmness and understanding I would never be the man I am today.

Today, I'm inching closer to partner than mentee, but I am still learning from Pete. He has helped me get back on skis after over a decade away. His gear is always at my disposal and has allowed me to go on adventures I would otherwise be limited to. His encouragement and knowledge has allowed me to go on many of my own adventures with confidence. His voice always in my head urging me on.

Pete will probably be a bit embarrassed that I wrote this article, but I can't thank him enough and I believe in the importance of mentoring. Mentors in your life will show up in many different ways. Don't turn one away when that relationship is available to you. Finally, if you get a chance to be a mentor in someone's life, cherish that opportunity.

How to become a mentor:

Partners in Routt County is a wonderful organization in town that focuses on youth mentoring in a variety of forms.

At it’s core it matches a Senior Mentor, an adult, and a Junior Mentor, a kid to form a partnership. They always have a waiting list of kids looking for mentors, especially males, so look into the program to see if you could help form a partnership.

Partners in Routt County

Phone: 970-879-6141

465 Anglers Drive, Suite 1E