As you may have noticed, we’ve been celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year and reflecting on the impact Summer Search has had on thousands of students. And as we look ahead to our next 25 years, we’re excited to see our first generation of leaders carrying on the Summer Search legacy, and passing the torch to the next generation.
In part 1 of our Ripple Effect series, we introduced you to Natalya, a Summer Search alum who encouraged her own daughter (Mila) to follow in her footsteps and embark on a challenging, life-changing summer experience.
Well, Natalya wasn’t the only one.
This is Carlton Colbert. You may have come across his incredible story in Summer Search Founder Linda Mornell’s book, Forever Changed. Chapter 10, to be specific.
Carlton and his mentor, Katherine Kennedy in 1998 at Carlton’s high school graduation, and then in 2015 at our 25th Anniversary gala.
Carlton joined Summer Search as an 18 year-old high school sophomore who had family hardships and challenges in school. Today, Carlton is a successful entrepreneur with his own business, Colbert Productions, a video production company where he produces training, education and conference videos for clients worldwide.
Carlton said that his summer trip experience at the Wolfeboro Academy in New Hampshire helped him “flip the script” from his self-defeating habits, and challenged him in ways he had never been before: “I have never done anything so hard in my life, and I did not quit.”
And of course, Carlton wanted to pass on a similar script-flipping opportunity to his stepson, Jonny. Just like with Natalya and Mila, our friends at Deer Hill Expeditions (with help from Carlton’s former mentor, Katherine, pictured above) were able to provide the perfect summer experience for Jonny.
After his trip, Jonny reflected on how challenging, and eventually rewarding, his experience was backpacking and white-water rafting.
“I would have never have imagined doing something so out of my comfort zone, but it was a trip I will never forget. It showed me that I am able to do what I never thought possible, and more.”
Like we said in part 1, the impact of our program doesn’t stop with our students. It ripples out as a new narrative of possibility for the families and communities that surround them.
Carlton flipped the script of his life’s narrative, allowing him to give his stepson Jonny the chance to experience something new and challenging.
As our Summer Searchers grow, they position themselves not only to give back to their communities, but to pass the torch — the core values of Summer Search — on to their children. This is the ripple effect of our program, and we are now watching it span generations. #RippleEffect
Carlton and Jonny