C-10 Podcast: Avery Van Zee, Wilderness Trek, Ep. 99

Welcome to episode 99 of the C-10 Podcast.

This episode is one of our most unique episodes of the previous 98…or one of our most unlikely guests.

Here’s why. Typically, we’re talking with people who have been in leadership roles with companies, or have been around great leaders throughout their adult lives. However, this week’s guest will show you that age doesn’t matter. And, as importantly, great leaders can be found in unique places.

As you may remember, last summer we took nine of our C-10 juniors and seniors, plus three mentors, on a trip to New Mexico with Wilderness Trek.

One of our guides on the trip through the mountains in New Mexico was a young man by the name of Avery Van Zee. Talking with Avery during a couple of the hikes — when he was coming to the back of the pack to make sure no one was left behind — it was obvious that he had a passion for helping others, he had the respect of each adult on the trip, and he has outstanding leadership qualities.

Think about it. He’s led multiple trips for the past two summers, and he has to get each group, regardless of hiking ability and camping background, on the same page within a few minutes for a successful trip.

Well, come to find out, Avery was originally from Pella, Iowa, which is near Des Moines…about three hours from Kansas City.

He connected in such a cool way with our students and mentors that we’ve stayed in touch with him. We’ve tried offering him encouragement as he figures out what’s next in life.

But last weekend, on January 7th, Avery, who spent the holidays with his family in Iowa, came down to Kansas City for a day. And we had a reunion that included seven of the students and all four adults from the trip. (The two students who couldn’t be there had previous commitments.)

After the reunion, Avery and Matt Fulks sat down for this chat.

Avery, who’s 23, is a young man who’s going places in life. You’ll hear some of that in this chat.



For more information about the C-10 Mentoring & Leadership program for high school students, visit our website.

To make a financial gift to give students life-changing one-on-one mentoring, visit our secure donation page.

If you’d like to hear our episode with Paul Talley, the Executive Director of Wilderness Trek, who has an incredible story, click here.

For all episodes of the C-10 podcast and ways you can listen, click here.

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