APP Peru: 5,000 Trees, So Many Stories
It’s been just over a month since our final journey into the Amazon to fulfill Viridian’s commitment to plant 5,000 trees and help restore the lungs of our planet. By now, much of Generation V has heard about the gratitude and life-long memories that followed our Peru voluntourists back home from this amazing trip. But what hasn’t been shared are the moving personal stories that offer valuable insights for anyone trying to build a Viridian business. Here’s your inside look:
Ambassador Gus Philemont
Although this was Gus’s first Amazon Preservation Project (APP) journey, it wasn’t his first international trip with Viridian. Last year, he was part of the group that helped bring solar power on 40 homes in Nicaragua through our 7 Continents in 7 Years initiative. Still, Gus admits he was nervous about heading into the jungle.
“Going on the trip I didn’t know what to expect. Part of me was excited about not knowing and excited about the work we were going to go do, giving back, planting trees and doing Viridian’s mission,” Gus explains. “But I’d never been to the Amazon before. Would there be bugs? Would there be wild animals? Would I be able to do this? Then I realized what I was feeling was exactly what every new Associate feels. That feeling of: ‘What did I just sign up for?’ So I did what I tell all my new team members to do – connect with the group. There wasn’t one person I didn’t have a good time with in Peru. Everybody gave 100 percent effort, even though some of them were scared too. Because Viridian is like a family, everyone worked alongside each other doing exactly the same work when we were planting. So sure, I went outside of my comfort zone. But thanks to the other members of Generation V on that trip, I did get comfortable and was able to make a significant impact on the environment.”
Ambassador Terrie Walker
“I had the honor of planting the 5,000th tree in Peru with my good friend Ambassador Henri Aymonier,” Terrie explains. “And it was impossible not to get emotional as we patted the dirt around that last seedling and reflected on how far we’ve come over the past six years with Viridian. This was my seventh sustainability trip as part of Generation V. And while the trips are always enjoyable with great people, great laughs and new experiences, what really energizes me are the valuable lessons I learn along the way. Whether we are installing solar panels or planting trees, Viridian really is sowing the seeds for a better future. We’re making renewable energy more mainstream and a brighter tomorrow for our children and our grandchildren. And it all starts with one seedling, one choice and a lot of perseverance. Who wouldn’t get a little teared up about that?”
Partner Heath Hale
This was Heath’s first Viridian sustainability trip, which he earned in just a few short months after joining Viridian as a Texas Gold Founder.
“It’s pretty exciting to hear you’ve won a trip to the Amazon! I felt very thankful to earn this trip from the work I put in over my first several months with Viridian. Before heading to Peru, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The Amazon is an intense environment, and I imagined planting trees would be a challenge with those intense conditions. After arriving, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment when all the trees were planted. The lodge we stayed in was great; like a tree house in the middle of nowhere! It was hard work, but it’s really neat to be able to say, ‘I’ve been to the Amazon, and I was a part of a 5,000-tree project.’ Who else can say that?
Being so new to the company, I also really enjoyed being able to meet new Associates from different walks of life. Many of them began as strangers to me, but we met, connected and teamed up to accomplish a big goal together. I now have some new friends. I also had the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, which has been on my bucket list my entire life.
I encourage all Associates to push themselves to accomplish their goals with Viridian. This trip was an incredible experience, and an amazing perk for all the hard work put in.”
Partner Gary White
Gary celebrated his birthday with the group in Peru and says he never could have given himself a more precious gift than the experience planting trees in the Amazon. And to think it wouldn’t have happened without prompting from Ambassador Bob Quintana at PowerUP! 2015.
“I’ve always wanted to go on one of Viridian’s sustainability trips,” Gary reveals. “And when I heard that Peru would be the last journey for APP, I really wanted to be a part of it. So when Bob got onstage at PowerUP! and said to write down one goal and keep it close to you and look at it every day – that was my goal. ‘To go plant trees in Peru.’ I kept that card in my wallet and worked every day after Philly to try to get to Peru. But still, my results just weren’t there. Then, when corporate announced that there were spots open on the final Peru trip, I knew that was the way for me to meet my goal. And you know what? I had what I can only call a life-altering experience. So now I tell people: whatever goal you are trying to reach – don’t give up. You can find a way. Go over the obstacle. Go under the obstacle. Go through the obstacle. Just don’t give up.”
“Plant seeds.” “Stick to your goals.” “Push yourself” “Learn from others and connect with Generation V.” Wise words from our Peru travelers indeed.