By now, you probably know that every few weeks, we’re helping you get to know one of our Board Members. Please meet Joel Ruse and his awesome family! Joel’s passion for OMM is unmatched and has been a cornerstone for OMM since its creation.
What Are Your Hobbies/Passions? Our family loves to garden. It’s something that I watched my grandparents enjoy growing up on the farm, so that’s why we have a ridiculously large garden. I get cabin fever so quickly, ask my wife, I don’t care what the weather is, you will find me outdoors with my boys exploring and adventuring. I have a strong passion for hunting but not just to beat last year’s harvest. I am convinced that God gives us enough in our lives and so we strive, both with our garden and with hunting, to give more to others than what we keep for our family. You’ll also find us riding across the country on our ATV as a family covered in dirt, dust yet full in spirit once we return home!
Why did you get involved in OMM? The statistics are scary. America is truly in a crisis of fatherless teens and I am convinced that God gave us his big backyard to use wilderness adventures to connect with Him in incredible ways. I didn’t have these adventures as a boy, and it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I learned the most about outdoor skills, Christian masculinity, and how the view of my father directly impacted my view of God. My hope is that I’ll get to see many of these young men one day be a guide, mentor, or volunteer alongside OMM as they invest in younger men that are where they were several years prior. I believe that young men who come through our Christian wilderness adventures will walk away not only challenged physically, but spiritually and emotionally as they return home. I see a generation of young men pouring into the generation that’s to come behind them and speak the truth of Jesus into their lives in partnership with outdoor adventure!
What makes it such a powerful, life-shaping experience for these young men? “Firsts” are something new, unique, out of the ordinary, life-changing; something that we’ve never experienced before. “Firsts” matter in our lives, tremendously. But, challenges will always be there, just as well as achievements or victory laps. These young men will encounter, quite honestly, several firsts in their life on our wilderness trips. Many have never hunted before. Many have never heard the term “Christian Masculinity.” Others will have never been camping overnight, let alone at 10,000 feet in Colorado. Most will never have read Wild at Heart; a life-changing, Christ-centered book on what it means to see yourself in the image of a Father who desperately loves you and learns what a life of being dangerous, passionate, and what being alive truly means. These are incredible, life-altering, transformational, and course-correcting, “firsts!”