Teamwork + Leadership + Spiritual Growth

Quinton Cools June 26, 2016
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I remember it like it was yesterday.


I was fifteen years old. I had been to one State Class, no other Alumni Events. We made the decision to go to TeenPact Survival only hours before the start of the event.


From Portland we drove three hours north. From Seattle, another 9 hours east to the new camp in Montana. By the time we arrived, everyone was separated into teams having already begun boundary breaking. I was next to answer the question. What is your name?


“Hey, I’m Quin.”


The next week was, in many ways, life changing.


Sure, we learned survival skills. We learned how to build a water still, how to construct traps for small game, how to respond to a medical emergency in the wilderness. All this and more. But what made the real impact on me were these three lessons: teamwork, leadership, and spiritual growth.




We were given training, tools, and trials. Our team had to perform through various forms of physical, mental, and emotional obstacles. It wasn’t easy. Our team didn’t communicate well. We all had very different ideas about how to accomplish our goals. We disagreed. Sometimes we faltered. We nearly failed. And yet, each night we came together and debriefed what we had learned that day. A group of individuals had started the week. By the end, we were like a well-oiled machine, a team that cared for one another, supported one another, and served with heart and purpose.



I wasn’t the captain of my team. I wasn’t the designated leader. In fact, before attending the State Class the year prior, I didn’t even think that the word “leader” described me. I was wrong. Leadership is influence, and if I learned anything that week it was that I had been given the ability to influence my teammates. The question was not whether or not I would lead, it was how. I learned a lot about how to communicate both support and concern and how to be the one that unifies people around me in the face of difficulty.


Spiritual growth

Each morning I found myself sitting on a hillside, looking out across the vast expanse of God’s creation. I felt small and even insignificant at times. And yet, in that very place, I felt closer and more significant to the Creator of the universe than ever before. I opened my Bible regularly that week, seeking the Lord through study and prayer. We sang worship songs in the mornings and as the sun would set each night. It was a week of surrendering ourselves to the Lord and accepting the path that He would lead us on. It was life changing.


Every student has a story. This is mine. Survival is different than many of our other TeenPact Alumni Events. Instead of suits and ties, you wear t-shirts and jeans. Instead of walking the halls of the capitol, you’re in the open wilderness. Trade in the busyness of your schedule and go spend a week learning alongside other TeenPacters about what the Lord would have for your life. It’s an amazing opportunity. Join us at TeenPact Survival.



About the Author

Quinton Cools

Quinton Cools grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and like any true Oregonian, he can identify the perfect cup of coffee. Quinton’s love for… Read More