Food for thought

Why I Carry 93 Index Cards in my Sailor’s Bag Every Summer

Gap Year Study Abroad Sailing Semester

We have a lot of traditions at Sea|mester…

and these traditions are integral to our experience; they are are a part of what makes an organization “thick,” as New York Times Columnist David Brooks calls it. Yet there’s one tradition that really sticks out as central to who we are:

Writing each of our shipmates an index card of positive memories from our time together.

This tradition, known simply as “cards,” started in 1986 with our founder, Jim Stoll, incorporating the activity into our teen sailing and scuba diving summer programs at ActionQuest. As is customary, these index cards are written as part of our closing activities of a program while we say our good-byes. Since the inception of this tradition, thousands of students and staff have written cards and shared memories, many of whom still have their card collection from voyages long since passed.

Sailing Semester Adventure Diving Gap Year Study Abroad

These little cards are a token of our shared experiences together – their value only increasing with time as the memories of our journeys fade and become obscured by new adventures; and while this process of seeking new experiences and continuing to learn is just part of who we are as humans, these cards connect us to our past. I carry these 93 (and counting) index cards with me every summer because they represent a part of my story too formative to ever forget.