By Christine Golden, Operations Manager at The Flyin Ryan Hawks Foundation
Do you know what your core values are? What are the principles you use to make important decisions or to assess risk? This is a simple yet very important question. Establishing our own core values requires deep and sometimes challenging introspection, but they then become the guide posts for living our most fulfilled lives. This is the basis on which the Flyin Ryan Hawks Foundation was founded. But let’s first go back to before the foundation even came to be.
“Flyin” Ryan Hawks was born in Burlington, Vermont in 1985 and was a gifted skier who died while competing in a Freeride World Tour event at the age of 25 in 2011. Ryan was much more than a skier; he was widely respected and had legions of friends. After his death, the Hawks family found on his computer a set of 14 core values that Ryan had composed for himself several years before he passed. That provided the inspiration to extend the impact of Ryan’s life by setting up a foundation to share Ryan’s core values. During the next seven years, the family worked with South Burlington High School to create the Flyin Ryan Decisions Program with the purpose of encouraging students, athletes and really everyone to establish their own core values and take agency over their own lives.
Ryan Hawk’s Core Values:
- Live every day, all day
- Never stop exploring life
- Never lose my adventuresome attitude
- Be the best friend I can be
- Be the best brother, son, uncle I can
- Look out for others
- Look out for myself
- Look out for our surroundings
- Play like I’m thirteen
- Be self-sufficient
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Work hard
- Live easy
- Live simply
What they found is that young people (and adults) all too often have never had the time, the guidance, and the opportunity to establish a sense of ownership, authority, and self-identity which is based on what is inside them and important to them. Young people, particularly, are on the receiving end of the rules and expectations which come from numerous sources: parents, teachers, community, coaches, peers and the list goes on. What gets lost here is a sense of responsibility for architecting one’s life in accordance with what each person values and is important to them. The bottom line here is that many students, athletes, and adventurers fail to connect their hearts with their spirit and their mind.
The Flyin Ryan Decisions Program is a proven process which is designed to introduce and to give credibility to the idea that individually composed core values are cool and can become an authentic basis for attitude, subsequent decision-making, and engagement in life. Students who establish self-composed core values establish an authentic sense of identity, self-respect, and ownership. The net result is that students who are armed with self-respect are more likely to give respect to the people around them, their surroundings, and their opportunities.
The state of Vermont agrees and has passed legislation which has resulted in what is called The Personal Learning Plan (Vermont Act 77) process, one element being a 185-page manual distributed to Vermont schools. The Flyin Ryan Decisions Program is Chapter 1 in this manual. One of the three critical elements of this plan is that Vermont Seniors, starting in the year 2018-2019, were expected to produce a written set of self- composed core values. High schools and middle schools throughout the state are still in the process of installing The Personal Learning Plan process into their curriculum.
Since establishing its value in schools, the Decisions Program has also been launched with the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) and all of their coaches and athletes now go through the program, with great results.
Out of the Decisions Program came the Adventure Scholarship Program, which operates on a rolling basis awarding scholarships to individuals 12 or older who have a goal or adventure needing financial support. Awards are based on the established financial need, the character of the applicant and how they reflect Ryan’s core values for living, a demonstrated passion for their goal and their ability to pursue it. Since 2012, 140 scholarships have been awarded totaling over $89,000.
Our latest project has been creating an online version of the Decisions Program that takes the user through the experience of learning about core values, understanding their importance and then establishing their own. This is currently in beta testing with select IFSA teams and will soon be launched for use by the general public.
Are you fired up about core values? We would love for you to get involved with Flyin Ryan!
- Take the first step in establishing your own core values by taking the Core Values Challenge
- Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share our posts to help spread the word
- Check out our website to learn more about the organisation
- Apply for, or recommend someone to apply for, our Adventure Scholarship Program
- Contact us about bringing the Decisions Program in your school, team or organisation
- Donate to support the Adventure Scholarship fund or our overall efforts
We never lose sight of our Core Mission: To EXPOSE adventurers of all ages to core values. INSPIRE adventurers to seek, find, and write their own core values. And ACT to stimulate adventurers to use their self- composed core values as a set of rails which influence daily attitude, engagement in life, and future decisions, both large and small.