You can accomplish anything! Don’t settle when it comes to your goals — dream big, and you’ll be able to accomplish them. Saying “I can’t” is considered a curse word in our house. We don’t let our kids quit anything easy. And that’s true of both spelling words and rock climbing.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Adventure Baker and his dad, Joe.
Sam Adventure Baker is a 7-year-old who loves to climb! He’s been rock climbing with his parents since before he could walk. Sam is on a mission to become the youngest climber on several peaks, including Washington Column and El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Through their climbs, the Baker family is raising money to help foster children find their forever homes. Sam’s dad, Joe, helped answer some of the questions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us about how you grew up?
Sam is still growing up! Sam is just seven years old, although he has the rock climbing skills of some people several times his age. Sam (full name Sam Adventure Baker) is growing up in a close-nit home with his parents, Joe and Ann, and two younger brothers, Sylvan Lightyear and Joey Danger. (All middle names are real!) Our home is full of love, support and action!
You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
With every climb, we are raising money to help children in the foster system find a loving family. We are raising money on our website, Samadventure.com.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
We have such a strong bond in our home; our children can’t imagine it any other way. When we told Sam there are children without moms and dads, he wanted to find a way to help them. That’s why we’re raising funds for organizations that support foster children and help them find a forever family.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Even before he could walk, Sam was going on hikes in a backpack. At age one, he loved being on the rocks. He started doing some low-angle climbs when he was three. And by age five, Sam had climbed his first big mountain.
Climbing is in our family’s DNA. It’s what brought us together as a couple, and making it a family tradition is a continuation of our love story. We loved the idea of using our love of climbing to help others.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
We work together as a family in all of our goals. Whether Sam is training to climb a mountain or practicing his spelling words, he approaches each challenge the same way. Together with his parents, we set small micro-goals, and Sam accomplishes them one by one. The whole family is always there to support and coach him.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Sometimes Sam needs encouragement to get through the hard parts. But he knows his family is right there beside him, and we will be every step of the way. Sam is growing up to be a strong, independent, confident young man.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
Not yet! We are just starting out in this journey, and we can’t wait to someday share stories of children we’ve helped!
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
One of the great things about a group we’ve partnered with, America’s Kids Belong, is they create a video for each child who is up for adoption. Once people see how amazing these kids are, they quickly find a forever family. It might be the coolest thing since Warren Harding climbed the sheer face of El Capitan!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
As a family, we talk about these lessons often:
- You can accomplish anything! Don’t settle when it comes to your goals — dream big, and you’ll be able to accomplish them. Saying “I can’t” is considered a curse word in our house. We don’t let our kids quit anything easy. And that’s true of both spelling words and rock climbing.
- Don’t listen to doubters. It might seem crazy for someone as young as Sam to be tackling such great heights, but we all believe in this mission.
- Set micro-goals. Accomplishing your goals takes hard work and dedication. The best way to reach your big goal is to set smaller goals and let them build on themselves.
- Overcoming your fears is fun! And it’s simple — all you have to do is the thing you’re afraid of, and you’ll overcome your fears. This is a lesson Sam has taught to people much older than he is.
- Safety first. Sam is always clipped in — when he eats, sleeps and when Mother Nature calls! Not a second goes by that we’re not triple-checking to make sure he’s safe.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
You can do what you love and also help other people! Rock climbing is more than a sport for our family; it’s a way to create attention on kids who don’t have the same love and support that we do! We can use our passion to help them each find a family.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!