Mentors of the Month: Ben Friedland
What is one of your favorite things to do with the young person you are mentoring?We made a list of approximately 20 things we want to accomplish together over the coming months. They range from playing racquetball, to going to a Nuggets game, to volunteering at a soup kitchen. It has been really satisfying setting goals, achieving them, and then crossing them off the list together. Who has been the most influential person in your life? And why?I am incredibly lucky in the fact that I have amazing parents. Their examples have provided me with what I feel is a good perspective on life. Most importantly – if you’re not happy, the only person stopping you from bettering your life is you. A few years ago my dad’s company – one he was at for 25 years – was sold and he didn’t like his new situation. Instead of “riding it out” for 5 years until retirement he simply said, “life is too short to take for granted”. He left life’s beaten path for something greater and found it. My admiration for him, and my mother, and their desire to live life to its absolute fullest is immeasurable.
Where is the most interesting place you have traveled and why?I had an opportunity to travel to Thailand a couple years ago. I wanted to go some place so completely foreign to me that it would have been impossible to blend in. I had high expectations and it absolutely exceeded every one of them. The country was so beautiful, and the people were so unbelievably accommodating and friendly. Share an experience that made an impact on you.In the final years of my grandfather’s life I made a concerted effort to really sit and listen. I learned incredible stories about my family, my heritage and his life, which included living through depression, becoming a doctor supporting troops during World War II, and then starting a practice where he passionately fought to provide affordable medicine within his community. Those conversations taught me the importance of adding value by helping others both when it is easy and convenient, but as importantly, when it is not. He set a great example – I have something to strive for, but a long way to go.
What words of wisdom would you pass onto the community to help our kids become more involved in healthy activities? (Or what words of wisdom would you pass onto the community to get more people involved in Mountain Mentors?)There is no more liberating feeling than leaving a long, difficult day of work to go hang out with a 10-year-old and build a snow cave. It’s amazing what perspective does to a person’s stress level. It’s definitely cliché, but I can confidently say I’ve learned just as much from my mentee, as he has from me.Decade born: 1970sBorn & Raised: Raised in Evergreen, ColoradoMusic: Anything with a hard driving guitar riff
Favorite Book: The Monster by Peter KrayHobbies: Skiing, running, spending time with friendsPassionate about: Living wellFavorite Outdoor Activities: Skiing and runningLanguages speak: EnglishHow did you find out about Mountain Mentors? Word of mouthHow many hours do you give each week to the mentoring program? 3-5
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