Catch Terence Gerchberg on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] We are so excited to get the party started. Thank you so much for being here. How are you doing today?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:00:15] Oh, I'm great. I live in New York City, the concrete jungle. I walked to an office so you could hear me out of the chaos of the house. And the energy of the city was just, it's just alive. It's coming back. So I'm truly blessed every day. I wake up, get to kiss my wife good morning, our son, and walk to work with our dog. She comes to work every day with me. So it's a beautiful thing. And I know I don't know what the day holds, but I know I get to create some really cool opportunities for people that I'm working with at the camp or myself, and it's really for our family. So it's really exciting.
Russ Johns: [00:00:48] So let's dive into that for those that don't know you and haven't mentioned yet, or haven't connected yet, please, everyone in the pirate community, make sure that you introduce yourself and welcome Terence to the pirate community. And also, give us a backstory on some of what you're doing an amazing project. And I just want to highlight it and make sure everybody understands and appreciates what you're doing, because this is a phenomenal effort here. And I want to make sure that people understand what Steve's camp is and what is taking place in Steve's camp because it's, I was reading it and I was just taken back and thinking, wow, this is phenomenal. We got to share it out.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:01:31] Thank you. A little bit about me. I, myself, like you have had many jobs and ultimately landed in something that just completely felt fulfilling and that's the nonprofit space. Service before self. Really helping other individuals, you elevate the world through your actions. You really want to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness. And we do that at a camp. We do that. I can give you the technical mission, which is, empower underserved youth pretty much from the age of 11- 18 to become tomorrow's leaders, to healthy hearts, healthy mind, and healthy body by using the camp experience. And that's the summer camp experience. So these underserved children from the five boroughs of Manhattan, get to go do a sleep-away camp up in the Catskills for two weeks. And in that camp, there's a ropes course, so they get to literally reached new heights and are harnessed and we do trust falls. They go on a Lake, some of them have never left the city, have never looked up and seen the stars. I know you're in Arizona. Sometimes you look up and you see all these incredible constellations, but these kids never get to see that. Another thing about the camp is it's a working farm, so they're actually growing their own food. So it's truly like farm to table and they get to experience it. We have a great video on our website that does a great job of just showing the joy that these kids have a long answer to your question, but we really it's a free summer camp that people would never be able to get to do.
Russ Johns: [00:02:59] Yeah. I want to go back because. I know I was a very fortunate in growing up, at the time it seemed awkward because I'd go to the farm and I'd work. My uncles, all my uncles and my family had farms and I'd go milk the cows and haul hay and all of these things and herd sheep and all of these things as a kid. And then, on my other side of the family was contractors and construction. So I was always getting drug out of bed on Saturday morning to go to a job site and work on something else. And all of these experiences become the fabric of who we are and what you're doing with these children and these kids giving them an experience that otherwise they would potentially never have, has to be life changing event for a lot of these kids. And so are there any stories or any examples you can share where a child has just been opened up and just imagine new possibilities and changed their lives as a result of being involved in the camp?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:04:09] Absolutely. A couple come to mind that... you talked about farm animals. I live in New York City and showed all these kids in the five boroughs. How many of them have milked a cow or really seen a chicken and really understood that two of the kids that have gone to camp have gone on to go to veterinary school because they've been so moved by the impact of working with animals and seeing them as more than just an animal, That really touches me just because of my preferences, how I happen to eat and how I look at food and the whole food system and just a cleaner living. This is not meant to say, oh, I'm vegetarian or vegan, but I'm very aware of the food chain and the impact of it and through that education. So that was really, when I heard that , that really touched me on a more personal level. And just seeing kids going that didn't think that they could go to college. I didn't think that was a possibility because through the program also there's a potential for scholarships for college. So seeing that and not to say that everybody needs to go to college or they should, but that's the path that people want to go on. We're here to support it, but I personally think it's great. I've met some incredible friends along the journey. And if it wasn't for that network of college, I wouldn't have done half of the jobs I did.
Russ Johns: [00:05:24] Yeah. I know that. Every experience that we have and everything that we can expose ourselves to in a variety of different ways, it's really important for people to have an experience that can change their life. And I know for myself, I remember my grandmother. She went to New York and I think teaching a Sunday school class somewhere. And she was asking kids about where milk comes from. And a lot of the kids say the grocery store. It comes from the grocery store. They had no connection between the chain of custody that it takes to create and produce the food that we eat and the things we put on our table. And I think it's important for people to understand that. It does take a lot of time and effort and energy, just like anything else in life. And I know that for yourself, you've had many adventures and you've gone through different iterations of work and career, things like that. And so doing this, you found a home and you're satisfied and fulfilled in helping these kids and watching them grow and develop. So what was your journey to get to this place? Give us a little bit of a snapshot of Terence's migration through the maze.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:06:44] This maze called life, and everybody pull up a seat. I'll try to slow it down, but I get so excited because the new Yorker in me is a million miles a minute. I was born in New York. I'm yes,a true. Yorker. Yeah. I probably live 10 blocks away from the hospital I was born in, which is now a condominium. So if I bought an apartment in that hospital, which is a condo and I died there, my life truly goes nowhere. I'm kidding obviously, but...
Russ Johns: [00:07:11] bookends to this great story.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:07:14] So I was born there. My parents got divorced at an early age, moved to California. So I've seen both coasts LA New York and in LA is where I really got to experience a lot of outdoors camp. Camping, going to Catalina Island and I really enjoyed, from being a boy scout and then throughout life, I weave my way through my first job was at one of those big box stores. I know you had a guest on recently that talked about it in my first day, consisted of pushing, shopping carts for eight hours outside. And I think that was really...
Russ Johns: [00:07:44] That wasn't your true love.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:07:46] It wasn't my true love, but it was the foundation of what it takes to really do hard work. For eight hours you pushing shopping carts. I return the shopping cart all the time now cause I was like, I'll never, but it reminds you the importance of those little things. And then from there ultimately I ended up back in New York, I graduated from NYU with an Accounting finance degree and that's where I really thought my life was going to be. Crunching numbers. And every day I was, I would fly on a Monday up to Syracuse and then fly back on a Friday doing this huge audit. And I said, what am I doing? I'm in a basement. I love the outdoors. I love interacting with people and I'm literally interacting with nobody.
Russ Johns: [00:08:21] And you're not outdoors.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:08:23] Exactly. And then one of my good friends from college told me about an opportunity on Wall Street. And I said, absolutely, this is it. I went down there, people yelling and screaming, and this was it. This was Nineties. Yeah, lots of energy, lots of passion. And September 11th hit. And I was there when it hit, it really sent me to a dark place. And for five years, I'd walk under the towers. And the reason why I tell this I was so close and it just sent me to a dark place. It turned my world around. And I said from here on out and there was one of my favorite quotes. I love quotes, but it was from Ben and Jerry's. I always liked Ben and Jerry's and one of his quotes is, I don't know if it was Ben or Jerry, if it's not fun, why are you doing it?
Russ Johns: [00:09:02] Yeah, that's a great life lesson, right? In a very simple sentence.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:09:10] If it's not fun, why doing it? And it wasn't fun. So I realized then that I'm only going to do the things that are fun. I'll give a little bit while I was I got dark place. I started gambling really big, beyond my means, I ended up losing it all. And then right after September 11th,in 2002, I checked myself in a gambling rehab facility. And while I was there, somebody called me and said, we're in. I said, I'm not sure where we're in, but I'm in rehab. Where are we? He said we both got in the New York City marathon. So I started training. It was something that I always wanted to do. And, being outside, running, meeting people, talking, and I ran the New York City marathon, 19 consecutive years. This will be my 20th consecutive. And while I was running all of these opportunities and possibilities opened up, I started working in real estate where I was interacting with people. I was showing them properties, I don't know if it was selling, but definitely showing them. And then I started working in the coaching, running space. And from there I got another job in the nonprofit space. I became a Lulu lemon clothing company ambassador, which opened more doors. And then I, during the nonprofit, I realized that's it. My life is service before self and I will continue to give with my whole heart and every fiber of my being to anybody, that wants to know about nonprofits, making a difference. And that's what brought me here and kids, they're kids today, but they're tomorrow's leaders. They are those change makers and how we can mold them. What we can show what we can teach and what we can learn from them is mind blowing.
Russ Johns: [00:10:40] And the reason I wanted to bring this up and have you give the snapshot is because, this show goes out and we never know where it's going to land. We never know who's going to touch in the world of life. And the reality is that we have to explore and we have to experience some things before we understand what we like and what brings us joy and what we fail to really expand our lives in. And all of these adventures, there's a common theme and a common thread. It's if you're not happy, if you're not having fun, why are you doing it? And the other piece of the puzzle is sometimes we have to do things we don't necessarily enjoy doing, and we just have to have #gratitude for the fact that we can do it. And I think there's a common thread that you and I share is the #gratitude around it. And the idea that we have an opportunity to really expand that #gratitude to others and service is a great way to do that. So thank you for your service and thank you for helping these kids out in such a noble process and a goal. And so now you realize in your life, you're going okay, I've been running for 20 years and I'm in a nonprofit now. And so what's taken place with the camp and what's going to be developing. And how do people help and how do we support these kinds of initiatives and how can you see it growing in the future?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:12:07] Great question. The big thing is it's a camp in the Catskills. We are we're limited right now by the bunk size. We are going to build another bunk. I also want to make sure that the bunk is winterized so we can maybe do programming year round. It gets cold up there. It really is. It's right up there by that Woodstock area that the Catskills Livingston manners, it's really beautiful. It's on a hundred acres. It actually used to be ironically a old kind of running or speed walking camp, but that never took off. So hopefully I will bring my passion for running and outdoors to older people that want to go to the camp and maybe experience camp and I'll bring some really great programming. How people can help out is, I look at it as three ways, anybody listening, if they know of a grant or a foundation that helps inner city kids that talks about food, education, connect with me. Obviously if you have, if you live in the area of New York, we are a camp with a a kitchen. We are gonna need dishwasher, some things. So if people have things that might, they might want to donate, reach out to me, and of course all nonprofits do need money to run. So we do take donations. I don't take it lightly. So people have time that they either want to join a board. They want to give, time's the most valuable thing. So some people prefer to give money, but reach out to me. I would love to... anybody who wants to get involved, I always just want to have a conversation with them and see if it works. And if it doesn't, I can say, hey, not right now cause we've got to grow. There's certain things that we need to do and I have a clear vision on what that is, which is build another bunk, update some of the the main lodge, do some of the things in the camp to get kids excited to go there. Cause we haven't had camp in two years now because nobody's done anything really in the last year due to the pandemic. We're excited for a summer camp in the fall, in the summer, this year 2021.
Russ Johns: [00:13:52] That would be phenomenal. And I know that there's a lot of kids that are out there and I just want to give a shout out to some of the people that are in the room here. Nice change to get in touch with mother nature. Absolutely positively. Hiett Ives in from Houston says fantastic outreach for and to sheltered youth. Hiett, I love that. And we fail to appreciate what so many don't know. That is such a huge shift in thought process. Cause we don't know, like I said, when you're not really attached or you're not associating your food with your environment and everything that goes into it. And the whole entire process, farm to table, it's really a different perspective on what's taken place. And a Angie says I would love to connect, love this vision. Angie's an awesome individual. That everyone should know. She's awesome. She's Epic. Tracie says, I want to go to this camp.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:14:56] All right, Tracie, come on. Yeah, that's all right. Is Tracie in Arizona.
Russ Johns: [00:15:00] Tracie's in... where is Tracie? Wisconsin?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:15:05] Alright,Tracie come on out.
Russ Johns: [00:15:07] . I raised my family, my two boys on 30 acres out on the peninsula next to the Olympic forest. We had horses, we had cows, we had chickens, we had animals and we would go horseback riding or mountain biking in the national park and all around. I taught him to ski in the only ski resort in national park, Hurricane Ridge. And there's just so many episodes in their life and it's really important for people to understand that we have these connections. We have this ability and opportunity to make the connections to other people doing other things. And I really encourage high school students. When they're trying to explore, like you said, some go off to college and have an idea that's important and other people, there's a big push right now for the trades. Because there's a lot of people moving out of the trades and there's still, plumbers carpenters, electricians, all of these, it's a valuable skill to have. And that's another area that's important to understand and what you may grow up with may not be what you end up being when you grow up or when you become an adult. I've had more careers than most people and it's just to me, I just love learning. I love the process of learning and I love, and I've always gone back to helping. I love helping other people. So the servant leadership.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:16:36] That's what you're doing now. That's what this is. That's what I mean. You're helping me right now. How many people are getting to hear about Steve scamp through your platform? This is huge.
Russ Johns: [00:16:46] And it's an opportunity. And I just want, wanna, I just want to share that because you're helping kids see that perspective, see that broader picture, see that idea that we can actually encourage kids and young adults to actually get involved and engaged in. And you mentioned Boy Scouts. The first time I went to camp, I I actually had a backpack. And I carried a frying pan on five mile hike just because I wasn't sure what I needed when I gotto camp. I think back on that and that's wow that's crazy.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:17:23] I'm sure your frying pan was not as light as they are now. Things have definitely evolved.
Russ Johns: [00:17:28] So what's the next adventure you got the camp you're potentially going to maybe do some running camp exercises there. How do people connect and how do people get ahold of you and learn more about this and get involved and engaged with the camp?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:17:44] The thing about your platform is everybody sees the Steve Camp the website, stevescamp.org you can reach out there. I love connecting the old fashioned way. Ultimately, hopefully face-to-face when this pandemic, the global pandemic has been lifted when we can, again, and it's safe. Call me. I love people to call me, to text me. I want to hear a voice. I want to connect. That is the one thing that has been the hardest for me over this time. Hugging another human being and just really looking in someone's eyes. And hearing that story, hearing about their journey, those highs and the lows because those lows help build us and really form us. Those lows or those losses that I've had in my life or we've all had really direct us. So call me on my cell phone number and I'll give it right now is (917) 376-3376 . It sounds like I'm repeating myself, but I love the number three and back in the day you could pick it. So it's (917) 376-3376. So just give me a call and text me and we'll have a conversation about what I'm up to, what the camp is going to be doing. What, summer looks like, what next year looks like and beyond.
Russ Johns: [00:18:50] Yeah. So you mentioned New York and it's starting to come back alive. And I know that the next year is going to be an adventure as well. And so what do you see locally there and how can we work through this final phase of the pandemic and what do you anticipate in the next year for yourself?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:19:15] For myself is I'm personally getting vaccinated, I've got the first vaccination cause I'm in that group of working with with children. I'll get the second one. Travel is opening up. My family's growing. My wife and I we're blessed that we're going to be adopting a baby girl in the coming literally weeks. So our family's growing and we're really excited about that.
Russ Johns: [00:19:36] Congratulations!
Terence Gerchberg: [00:19:36] Thank you. It's it really is a, that's a whole episode in itself. Just how the process and that changed. I see people traveling, I see people wanting to connect. I see people attending galas or fundraisers and people going to those. golf outings, you perform, you play instruments. People are gonna want to see that in person. When this whole pandemic started, there were so many people playing online or on TV. I said, I don't want to watch it. I'll watch it for a couple of months, but this is not how I'm going to view shows. I, I love the energy of real life. Seeing it. So the great thing is I run a lot, so I get to run through the streets of New York. And I'm noticing that times square is crowded. Central park is crowded or getting more crowded again. You're just seeing more people out there. We're all looking at, the numbers of, if you get vaccinated and you're taking care of yourself and you're being careful. And when I run, yeah, I run with a mask on because I want to be respectful. I'm wearing something over my mask. Not I'm not running like, five minute miles and trying to buzz the streets. I'm running to enjoy it. I'm running to take it in. It's my form of meditation. It's my form of just looking at the world and seeing the colors, the shapes, everything that the city has to offer. The smells.
Russ Johns: [00:20:45] And I love New York. Years ago when I was working for an organization, I used to go there on a regular basis in the advertising world and being out in the streets and experience in different people have conversations and I've been very fortunate to go to different cities and experience a lot of different environments. And it's really fascinating to me to see how this impact in our history will change a lot of the way that we think about life. And I know a lot of people have set back and reflecting on what's important in their life. You're starting a family. You have running involved a lot of activities and serving the kids and the families in New York. And there's so many opportunities out there that we haven't even explored yet. So thanks for helping these kids see a different light and a different outcome than what they might be exposed to. Appreciate it. Any parting words that you want to share, any words of wisdom, legacy thoughts that will live on?
Terence Gerchberg: [00:21:50] I think the biggest, this is, really where I was drawn to your show. And I'm very specific about, whether podcast or what I'm doing to send a message, your vibe is just spot on. I love it. And I appreciate it. And you're one of the people I take on my runs with me. I'm a new Yorker, so I listen to it at one and a half speed. So one I can get through more content and two, it keeps me fired up during the run. But yeah, kindness is really cool and #smilesarefree and that's an important thing because when I was running, once somebody said, why don't you smile? And I was like, that's right. I need to keep smiling. But the big thing was the #gratitude practice. My wife and I, she wrote a blog about it on Mind Body-wise and I'll send you the link too, but every night, before we go to bed we practice #gratitude and it's five things that were great. Oh, sorry. At least three things we're grateful for today. Then we ask ourselves, what was our magic moment right now being on your show is my magic moment for the day. We'll see if that holds up. And then we say every day I fell in love with you. I love you every day and I fell in love with you again today. And what she did that really just made me love her more because it's so easy and oh, by the way, when this whole practice, no technology, everything is off. We're just connecting, looking at each other, holding hands. And also today I learned acts and what we learned and then what we're creating for tomorrow. So we go to bed with kind of a nice vibe, but I'm hearing your #gratitude and how you do practice #gratitude every morning was just, I was like, that's it, I've gotta be on this guy show. He's just, he's the real deal. So surround yourself with people like you that are just a real deal. That's my words of wisdom.
Russ Johns: [00:23:20] That's an amazing and accurate depiction of way that so many of us can improve our lives is wake up with #gratitude, love the ones you're with and make sure that the people around you bring you joy and happiness and lift you up and, shine light on other people, allow other people to, be seen. Be heard and be, be talked about because that's what it's all about is how can we help other people do great work. And so thank you so much, Terence, for doing great work and being here with us today.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:23:55] My pleasure. Thank you for having me as a guest. And I'm like, you always sign off, I'm going to go enjoy my day. Are you going to enjoy yours?
Russ Johns: [00:24:03] We do this because #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree and you #enjoyyourday.
Terence Gerchberg: [00:24:11] Thank you so much.
Russ Johns: [00:24:13] Be well.
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