There is No “I” in OG

When you ask people what makes OG, well, the answers may vary. Backpacking and volunteering, our amazing partners abroad, community-requested projects, flexibility in our programs…we could toot our own horn for this entire blog post. But the thing that I know makes us special, that makes me excited to come into the office every day, that has turned a vagabond into an office-goer? It’s my OG family. It’s that almost indescribable OG-ness: That fun-serious, seriously-fun attitude that permeates everything that we do and all the people involved in this organization, from the staff at HQ and trip leaders around the world to our participants and alumni.

OG's 3rd annual trip leader retreat

Operation Groundswell started with a couple friends in their home in Toronto. Six years later, we’ve grown to have trip leaders in California, Guatemala, New York, DC, Saskatchewan and all over the world! How do we keep the vibe alive? Is it possible? Skype and Google hangout (and lots of patience with dial-up) have helped all of us keep in regular contact, but we also have another useful tradition. The Annual OG Trip Leader Retreat is an opportunity to share our values as backpacktivists, our knowledge of the ins and outs of bringing groups abroad, health and safety, logistics and to learn all of the crazy games that are up the sleeves of all OG trip leaders. It is a time to collaborate on core concepts and learning objectives while sharing our ideas and excitement!

Though we pride ourselves on not being a cookie-cutter organization, the formula seems to work something like this: a cottage somewhere north of Toronto + 20 something trip leaders and HQ staff + great food + a quarter as many beds as there are people + + outdoor play time + games and activities + surprises  = a guaranteed crazy-amazing weekend full of laughter, learning, and an even stronger team ready to take on what will be OG’s biggest and best summer yet!

Other than the assured confidence in our awesome team this year, it’s weekends like this that make me excited for what the OG community is and has become. These incredible people, and all of the like-minded, overly-excitable folks that make up our global community. They really are the best of the best. Thank you to everyone who helped make this weekend happen and all of you who continue to support OG!

I can confidently say that there is at least one group of people in an office downtown Toronto who appreciate you everyday!
Laura, Programs Director