Ken Cruse & his family are volunteers at the Laguna Niguel YMCA Adventure Guides program.
Colleen’s Story: Ken is a Dad in one of my Dad/Daughter Expeditions. This gave me the opportunity to get to know him as we worked together during the program year. He is a wonderful Father to 4 beautiful daughters in the program, a loving and caring husband and CEO of a worldwide Hotel Management Company. Even with an over extended schedule Ken stepped up to lead the Sunshine Expedition. This gave me the opportunity to get to know him as we worked together during the 2013-2014 program year.
When the topic of Campaign came up, without hesitation Ken stepped up and dedicated his time and efforts in motivating and encouraging his Expedition Members to participate. By leading by example, talking one on one, coming up with ideas that created unity and enthusiasm the Sunshine Expedition single handedly raised over $12,000, which exceed my original goal for the program year. After his year of leadership ended once again without hesitation Ken volunteered and is the Campaign Team Lead for the Expedition this year. I have lost count on the number of times a different members of Sunshine have come up to me at events and told me what an amazing leader, person, and all the great things Ken has brought to their experience in Adventure Guides. I think the best thing about Ken is the fact he never expects anything in return and he does it because he believes in the strength of community and helping others.
Ken’s Story: When a friend invited us to join the Adventure Princesses program in 2007, we resisted the idea. Who has time to go camping three or four weekends a year? Despite our initial reluctance, we signed up. We quickly found the Adventure Princesses program to be a meaningfully important part of our lives. The program is about building bonds between dads and daughters, creating memories that will last a lifetime, and helping our daughters develop into poised, confident, self-assured young ladies (…who can easily survive a three day weekend on four hours of sleep …by eating nothing but candy …without brushing their teeth …or changing their underwear).
I remember when each of our four daughters came home from the hospital like it was yesterday. The moment when we recognize that we brought a new innocent life into the world, and that we as parents are responsible not only for that child’s wellbeing, but for who that child will ultimately become is beyond humbling. Our daughters grow up at light speed. While we cannot experience every step and every milestone in our daughters’ lives, it’s amazing how a few pre-planned weekend outings a year can serve to strengthen the bonds and deepen the shared experiences we have with our daughters.
One of the primary tenets of Adventure Princesses is “one of 100 fathers”. The basic concept is that each father treats each girl in the program as if she were his own. You see this concept at work during all of our events, whether it’s a group of dads cheering mightily for a little girl as she struggles to make it to the top of the rock wall at Camp Surf, or the entire room laughing out loud as if the homemade joke they just heard a girl tell during joke night was the best joke ever – and in some ways it probably is. This support is so important to the development of our daughters’ confidence, values and self-esteem.
Together we truly are creating memories, building confidence and instilling values that will last a lifetime. In the sage words of Ferris Bueller, “life happens pretty fast – you blink you could miss it.” Joining the Adventure Princesses program has proven to be a great decision.
As a family we’ve become involved in fundraising for the annual Campaign so that others who do not have the resources to participate in the Adventure Princesses program – or the many other outstanding programs offered by the YMCA – may have the chance to benefit from the experiences, enrichment and support provided by the YMCA.
Learn more about the Cruse family: