The best way to learn about leadership is from great leaders- By Robert A. Baird

It has been just about a year since I hand picked the leaders for Operation Roshni.  I knew that if I got the leaders right the experience I was trying to create for the youth would be one that would alter their lives forever. Little did I know at the time, how great this team of leaders would actually be.  They have far exceeded my expectation and you can be assured, they are the people you want mentoring your  teens.  I have seen them lead by example up close and personal.  They are kind and loving,  firm when they need to be, compassionate at the right times and full of fun!  I have come to love each one of them for who they are!  I learned a long time ago that if you want to be a success, surround yourself with people that possess the skills you don't have.  This is truly that team! IMG_0247 (1 of 1)


Scott Melis first came to India a few years ago with a YMAD collage expedition.  I knew if he became an adult leader he would teach the kids how to have fun and work hard.  I saw first hand the change that took place in his life and know his desire to pass that same experience on to others.   That only happens when you give your heart to some one else.  Scott is now on our YMAD board.  I love working with him and will forever cherish his friendship and amazing example.


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Jake Murrill worked for me years ago as a delivery boy. He was focused and a hard worker.  He put himself through collage with out parent support and has risen to the top of his field. He has a passion for learning and is not afraid to get his hands dirty.  He mentioned to me, he was never a Boy Scout, but is always prepared. That is what I love about Jake, he has been more than prepared. He has been up early and one of the last to bed, always looking for ways to make my job easier and helping in some way.  He has managed the medications for the expedition and has made sure we have had the best care.  We have all come to love and cherish him!


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Brook Lang saw first hand how YMAD can change a teen!  Her son Gardner came to India a few years ago and she wanted to share in  his experience.  I was so excited when she asked if she could participate in YMAD as an adult leader. She works with teens as a professional and embrases them.  Her love and patience are exemplary!  She truly leads by example.  She had the opportunity to on this expedition visit the school that changed her sons life, and now she knows why.  We have all felt of her love and compassion.

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Lauren Bowie was the wild card.  Her accounting firm had made a contribution to YMAD last year.  I mentioned that they should offer up a member of their firm to be an adult leader.  I could not have been more surprised at what an amazing leader she is.  She has been tireless in making sure her team had all they needed to succeed!  I watched her first hand in her school at Kalsui and she was awesome!  Her no stress attitude and work ethic are inspiring.  I am so glad she stepped up to participate with us.

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Operation Roshni's success has greatly been due to the tireless efforts of Allison Ford.  One could not ask for a better expedition leader!  She knows all of the team personally and loves them, and it shows.  She has organized and prepared for the trip in such a way that there has never been any cause for concern or worry.  She has taught the leaders how to be successful and exemplifies all of the YMAD values. Her sense of humor and casual low key personality sets everyone at ease!  Her personal commitment to the success of this expedition has inspired us all to work harder, to be kinder and more gracious to all those we come in contact with.


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Few people have come to know Raj Thakur as I have.  He is truly like a son to me.  He is honest to the core and makes sure that YMAD is not taken advantage of.  He is one of the few in India who have caught the vision of what YMAD is all about, always eager to help us succeed.  His knowledge of the culture and skill working with a wide variety of personalities is crucial to our success.  He has come to love all of our team and jokes frequently with them.  The work we do in Himachal Pradesh is successful mostly because of his tireless efforts.

It is because of this small group of leaders that your teens have had this incredible experience in India. I am so grateful to have rubbed shoulders with each of  them and  want them to know of my love and appreciation for their contribution to this expedition.  I wouldn't think twice about taking any one of them with me anywhere in the world!  They are simply, the best!