At Colorado Youth Outdoors (CYO), we believe that one of the keys to building quality relationships is to make a conscious effort to appreciate all that we have. Our participants have much to be thankful for, like the people, places, opportunities, and facilities that make their experiences here so memorable. By focusing on fostering a sense of appreciation, participants begin to consider more fully how others are thinking and feeling. This mindfulness allows them to concentrate on being polite and considerate, which helps them strengthen their relationships.
The first way to cultivate appreciation in your life is simple: affirm the qualities in others that you value. At CYO, there are so many times to show affirmation – to our instructors and volunteers, to our parents or children, and to everyone who makes our work here possible. It might be the thoughtful nature of the volunteer who taught you to tie a fly; the kind patience of a mother teaching her daughter to cast her lure; or even to the facilities caretaker who keeps CYO tidy and functional. These affirmations enhance our experiences and deepen our relationships. Additionally, simply saying “thank you” to the people you value helps to strengthen relationships and reminds us to appreciate everyone who has helped us.
Another way we nurture our sense of appreciation is to celebrate our successes. As our participants gain new skills and experiences, for example, the thrill of catching their first fish or firing a great trap shot, we take time to celebrate these successes, especially the small ones. Often, small successes are overlooked. But in our fast-paced world, you have to make a conscious effort to celebrate the small things. By taking the time to recognize small steps, we build our participants’ relationships, confidence, and character. And by investing our attention in these small steps we build the physical and emotional capital we’ll need to achieve even bigger victories.
Finally, we encourage our participants to broaden their sense of appreciation by taking the time to be grateful and to show gratitude for the people and opportunities we have here at CYO.
By showing people the value in slowing down and recognizing all that we have, we build in our participants the appreciation for the people, places, and opportunities that enrich our lives. But while this process starts at CYO, the mindfulness and gratitude we cultivate here will help everyone lead happier lives and build stronger relationships wherever they may be.
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