Kipp’s Quarter – Vol.1


Years ago there used to be a machine on a wall.  You would put a dime in the machine, lift the handle and speak into it… it was called a pay telephone. The saying “It’s your dime” came from putting your dime in the machine and allowing you to speak to another person. With inflation it eventually became a quarter… so what you are getting today is ‘Kipp’s Quarter’!

I hope to do ‘Kipp’s Quarter’ as a quarterly event and this quarter we have an article written by Gordon Sidler, HATS Director of Development, about Communication!

Thoughts from Gordon Sidler


One of the most powerful times on a HATS campout are the knee to knee moments, when Dads give their daughters 100 percent attention, and daughters offer theirs as well. In these moments, we create our own verbal and non-verbal language, and build a foundation on which we share our hopes and dreams.

Famous appellate court judge James Humes once said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” Fostering leadership in our girls and boys requires building their communication skills.  One day on a campout, I wondered: where did communication come from? Writing is evident in pre-historic times, going as far back as 500 BC, when humans wrote symbols on tablets.  Verbal language can be dated to 30,000 BC when vocal chords and facial features developed. This physical evolution, along with symbols, made up what we call communication. This was the first recognizable communication.

Symbols provide the framework for evolving communication, empowering a person to share and experience the deepest parts of human thought and expression. They are the key that unlocks our ideas, thoughts, and feelings, which become art of communication. I have found six core branches make up the tree of communication. These can be found in the letters of the word symbol.


Be aware of other people’s misfortunes and congratulate them on their accomplishments. To grow relationships, one must be present in the moment with our friends and family. Good eye contact helps us understand others, as does walking side by side in the valley of joys, sorrows, happiness, and heartache. Sympathy is a branch of the communication tree.


There are many tales about the origin of yodeling, but most scholars agree that it probably started in Africa as a way to keep domesticated animals corralled together. Yodeling is a form of singing that alternates one’s regular voice with one’s falsetto voice. Many people use their yodeling voice to create fun and laughter. Like yodeling, communication draws from one’s regular voice—the inner voice in our head and heart—and falsetto voice—the exterior voice shared with other—to build empowerment and self-esteem. As I use my inner voice and exterior voice, I become confident and grow and feel empowered. I embrace who I am, and I choose to share my voice, my feeling, my life, and even my unique yodel to the world. Yodeling is a branch of the communication tree.


Olympic medalist Gabby Douglas writes: “I accomplished something big, and that’s a memory I will never forget.” Memories are one of the greatest rewards for a HATS participants. It is in communication that I am able to establish many memories. It is words, looks, expression, smiles, laughter, and yes, the John Parrish Polka that memories are created. Memories provide us a file cabinet of life experience, and a bridge to think about our future. Memories never let us forget. Memories is a branch of the communication tree.


Communication empowers me to believe in myself. Recently, I was watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. At one point in the movie, Indiana Jones had to step off a ledge that gave the impression of an endless fall. Indiana had to believe in his training, experience, faith, and, yes,  himself. Communication challenges you to believe in yourself. Believe that you can express your thoughts and feelings. Communicate to the world, and be a leader. Believe that your light is not meant to be under a bushel basket but rather to be shined so that all can see. Believe you have value and are more precious than gold. Believe you and your partner are unique to HATS and to the world in which we live. What you believe and communicate become the language of leadership. Believe is a branch of the communication tree.


I remember watching a child play with the clown in a jack-in-the-box. He wound the gear over and over while music played, and eventually the clown popped out. Then, he stuffed the clown down again and wound the gear until the clown popped again. Like this child, we stuff ourselves down in emotional and social boxes. We wind ourselves up with statements like, “You can do it!” “You got this!” or “Go get it done!”  Such statements lift us up. Like the open arm gesture that is both uncomfortable and welcoming, communication give us the ability to be open to everyone. I choose to stay outside the box, with my arms wide open to the world, and I find strength in my many family relationships, both at my home and in the HATS community. Openness is a branch of the communication tree.


A good leader is a good listener. Listening is not the same as hearing; learn to listen, not only to the words being spoken but also how they are being spoken and the non-verbal messages sent with them. Good communicators clear their minds and focus on the message being received. Too often, we hear the roaring boat engine and miss the silence of the wind in the sails. By listening, we grow in our communication and become aware of differences, an awareness not fostered through speaking. Only while listening do we hear others’ emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Listening has the power of a smile or a hug. Listening is a branch of the communication tree.

I have often been asked how has HATS helped me with communication in my family. In my life, the most important part of communication is love.  The love I have for my family challenges me to communicate—not in a dialogue but in a trialogue: myself, partner, and symbols.  Communication provides the adventure to grow in our relationships.

Helen Keller said “Life is a great adventure, or it’s nothing.”

-Gordon Sidler
Director of Developement

On a side note, HATS works very hard to develop future leaders with our Wilderness Leadership Academy, public speaking is a skill we work very hard to develop. Here is a link to one of our Wilderness Academy graduates, demonstrating her communication skills… enjoy and talk to you next quarter!

With you in the Adventure,

Kipp Murray

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