Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, and the AMC

Last night, we attended the Appalachian Mountain Club’s 133rd Annual Meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was great to see our old friends and meet some new ones. There are folks we only see once a year at this event, but you greet them like you saw them yesterday. It was great to hear that despite the horrible financial crunch that hit in 2008, the AMC balanced its budget for the 21st consecutive year. Our club has wise leadership, amazing volunteers, and a strong business model. Many not-for-profit organizations are collapsing under the weight of the recession, but AMC’s long term strategy is sound.

The meeting last night was shocking in many ways. Given the recession, one would expect a low turnout for an event that costs $40/person. Amazingly, the event broke all records. It was one of the largest events that the club has ever hosted. More than 900 people turned out for the dinner. Half as many were there throughout the day for workshops and meetings, but the crowd swelled by cocktail hour. I wish I could say that folks were really fired up about AMC’s mission, the Maine Woods Initiative, and the environment.

But, I can’t. The real reason for the sold out event was the key note speaker. His name is Greg Mortenson, co-founder and Executive Director of the Central Asia Institute, and author of Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson’s book is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and remains on the list today. It has been a juggernaut. I first learned of Mortenson through ads for his book in AMC Outdoors, the clubs monthly magazine. He has advertised for months. Then, I read a story about him in Outside magazine. I confess, I haven’t read the book, but I’m familiar with his story and have read excerpts.

Not all authors are good speakers, but Greg was pretty good. He isn’t dynamic, but he is sincere. He came across as a regular guy with an incredible vision. The great photo images in his slide show made up for any weakness in his delivery. He had a very noble idea to educate children in these war torn countries, and he built a network that helped make his dream a reality. His own hardscrabble upbringing, brush with death (on K2), and the death of his sister have defined his life. His story, as told in Three Cups of Tea, is what powers the book forward and it is what drew 900 people to a Sheraton Hotel ballroom. I had no idea that this guy was so popular. Recently word got out that he was nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This news must have reached some of the attendees, but I first learned it last night.

I think it is great that 80% of those who came were AMCers. I hope the 20% that were guests join the club because Mortenson’s values and the values of our organization are very consistent. After all, his roots are in mountaineering, as are the club’s. The club’s recreation/education/conservation mission is a great combination. Like Mortenson, many AMCers are educators. He was the perfect speaker for a year when everyone could use a little “pick me up.” I’ll read the book for sure now. It’s moral of promoting peace through education (especially of girls) is resonating with a lot of people at a time when our new administration is promoting  a surge in Afghanistan to battle the growing insurgency in that country and neighboring Pakistan. Mortenson’s authentic story made the trip to Danvers even better.

0 Responses to “Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, and the AMC”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Horst Engineering Family of Companies

Cross Spikes™


I never post about food. However, this is the second time this week that I’m posting about food. These #vegan dishes at Empress by @theprivegroup were awesome. #instavegan #singapore Everything worked out fine for @trailrunningmom After a little stress, they had her race packet and bib number at the @metasprintseries venue and she kept it upright on the bike! 🚴🏽 She was very pleased with 2nd place 🏆 in her age group at her first road #Duathlon.🏃🏻There are no mountains ⛰ and there isn’t much singletrack in #singapore but it’s still a great city for endurance sports. It looked like there were more than 1,500 athletes at the 3K/18K/3K race with LOTS of kids too. Great vibe! #triathlonsg #teamhorstsports 🇺🇸 Our kids may recognize this great Shoppes @marinabaysands feature from six years ago. I had forgotten how cool it was. #singapore #marinabaysands First time on a road bike for @trailrunningmom In advance of her first ever road duathlon @metasprintseries I taught her some tips & tricks including the do's/don'ts of shifting strategy, cornering, blocking (not), drafting (not), passing, flying mount/dismount, etc. It was fun! Even though she was on a "rental" too, I couldn't keep up on my "steed." #triathlonsg #singapore #teamhorstsports @thecheryltan #cheryltan #singapore #singapore Name those tunes. 11-year-old Feng E is making a name for himself in Asia and beyond. #guitar #fenge #singapore 🎸 @trailrunningmom led #yoga at #ypoedge #singapore 

@ypoglobal #yogini Tremendous #vegan dinner @metasingapore Without a heads up, Chef Sun and his team whipped up an amazing seven course + three “snacks” meal for @trailrunningmom and me, that was worthy of their @michelinguide star. We sat at the counter and watched every step in the process. Chef said that with advanced notice (of our diet), he “would have done better.” We appreciated his perfectionism, but it was just fine. #metarestaurant #instavegan #michelinguide #singapore

Follow me on Twitter



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 299 other followers

%d bloggers like this: