#6 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
Jerry Brent Moss, Sr. is an alumni of the original Outward Bound School located near Marble, Colorado.
“During the time that I was in school we had a lot of civil unrest, lots of riots and disturbances especially after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., I was on the basketball team at the time when George Wallace came to Omaha and caused such a ruckus that they moved the championship for safety reasons.”
Moss was inspired to seek his own mountaintop by the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and got the chance in the summer of 1967 at the young age of 17, an experience that changed his life forever.
Moss’ older brother, Steve Moss, had gone on a course one year prior, only three years after Outward Bound expanded to the US. Moss had a leadership example that he felt he had to follow. Through the Gene Epply North Omaha Boys Club, he was one of two people chosen to represent the school and received a scholarship, in part sponsored by Warren and Susie Buffett, and honor and responsibility he took very seriously throughout his course.
Moss still recalls taking the train from Omaha to Colorado Springs, followed by agility drills at the basecamp to prepare for the ultimate challenge of scaling Snowmass Mountain. As part of the 3-day solo, Moss recalls “[I] set up my campsite, faced my fears and conquered them.” He was the last student retrieved after the solo because he has become so comfortable in his solitary environment.
“We were on the trail going on our journey to Snowmass Mountain. I had my backpack on but my patrol partner had his backpack off, he was resting and out of breath. My instructors taught me that you are a team and have to go the pace of every member. We could be stronger and more fit but if we went faster we would just have to carry him and others so the goal became to get everyone to the top, no matter what.” A lesson he carried with him into his career where he mentored younger and more inexperienced engineers.
Moss has now worked in Engineering for 35 years in San Diego, CA. He attributes his professional success as a direct result of being up in the mountains and discovering that “fears are false impressions appearing real. With that knowledge, how could I not succeed in my career?”
Moss still has the original slides from his Kodak camera, a few shots of which are captured here. He hopes that his story will inspire another young person to take on the challenge and discovery of an Outward Bound course.
You can make an expedition possible for a student by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge!