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My Wish: Don't Get Swept Away as a Teen, by Dave Boon

My Wish: Don’t Get Swept Away As A Teen

To order Dave's new book, My Wish, call 970-310-6404.


1. Swept Away in an Avalanche!
2. Show the World: Dreams Do Come True
3. The Power of Associations: Your Peers and Friends—The Good and the Bad Ones
4. Choices: They’re All Up to You
5. Mentors: The Power of Associations
6. Never, Never, Never Give Up: Keep On Keepin’ On
7. Watch Your RAS: Programming Your Mind’s Search Engine
8. Leadership Is Not Just For Adults
9. Making a Difference: You’re Only a Teen, What Difference Can You Make?
10. For Parents Only


Over the past 20 years I have been a high school teacher, a community college and university professor, an Executive Director for the second largest mentoring program in Colorado for “at-risk” youth, a tennis professional, and a life skills coach. In these various positions I have worked with teenagers of all ages and from all social and economic backgrounds. I have seen teenagers that have everything going for them lose sight of a bright future and I have seen teenagers that have been raised in low income single parent families succeed at developing their potential. My wife and I have raised two very successful, happy, and productive children and I have often wondered what makes the difference between a child that loses sight of a bright future and one that stays on track to achieve their dreams. It breaks my heart to see children and teenagers without dreams, without guidance, without the ability to see beyond their current situations. As I have observed and worked with youth over the years I have noticed that successful teenagers have certain character traits and habits. It is my hope that this book contains some wisdom, something that strikes a chord in you to change or reinforce behaviors and patterns of thought that prevent you from overcoming the difficulties that every teenager encounters and those that might be unique to you.

My calling in life is to “save kids’ lives.” I cannot stand to lose a kid to drugs, alcohol or crime and it hurts me to my very soul to see young people not reach their full potential in life. I used to work with “at risk” youth, but show me a youth that is not at risk in today’s world! I prefer to say that I work with children and teens with “unmet potential.” I have only one goal through my presentations at schools, my web site, this book, and my interaction with kids on a daily basis. That goal, my purpose in life, my wish, is to help teens and young adults discover their gifts and their direction in life. I want each and every one of you to become a healthy, happy, and productive member of our world. I don’t want you to get “swept away” by drugs, alcohol or negative associations. That is why I wrote this book. That is my purpose—that is my wish!

Chapter 1 - Swept Away in an Avalanche!

“I know that this work is ruled by infinite intelligence.”
• Thomas Edison

Swept Away

I was marveling at the gorgeous sky when something caught my eye about 10 yards ahead and to the left of our car. A small cloud of powder slid down onto the road. Both of my hands were on the steering wheel, and this little white puff of powder was the only warning we got. Less than a second later, our car was literally blown out of control and slammed into the guard rail by a blast of air and snow. It was a total whiteout. I could not see past my windshield, and I could hear snow and ice hitting our car as it was being pummeled by a 120 mph wind. One moment I was going 45 mph looking at royal blue sky, and the next, something very wrong was going on. My mind knew I had not hit another car, and I wasn’t in a car accident. I just thought, “What is going on?!”

The next instant, we were hit by an incredible force; it felt like we were hit by a freight train. The impact caused the car to flip into the air, and then I realized what was happening. We had been swept away by an avalanche—a massive avalanche. Everything went dark, as we rolled over and over in total darkness. We must have flipped several times in the air before we hit the ground and started to roll. We had driven this road hundreds, if not a thousand times, and I thought about the steepness of the slope the avalanche was raging down—with us in it! We went for quite a long, wild ride. Everything was black. We just kept rolling. Then we hit something and the car starting spinning upside down. We started slowing down and as we did, June shouted, “Make an air space, make an air space!” The avalanche training we had taken more than 20 years ago flashed back into her mind. Everything was dark. We were upside down, and we were buried alive.

January 6, 2007, had started as a beautiful winter day in Colorado—cold and crystal clear. The sky was deep royal blue, not a cloud in the sky, as my wife June and I made our way up Berthoud Pass on Highway 40. We had picked up 13-year-old Gary Martinez at about 7 a.m. on Saturday, and were heading up for two days of skiing at the Winter Park/ Mary Jane Ski area. We had met Gary at the Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County, Fort Collins Unit. Gary was in the First Serve Fort Collins program that I run at the club, which uses tennis as a platform to teach kids life skills and help them with schoolwork.

Winter Park is our favorite ski area in Colorado for both its family centered atmosphere and its easy access from our home in Fort Collins. Since we have a small cabin there that we own with our dear friend, we usually go up the night before to avoid the morning ski traffic. Another friend of our family was supposed to be going skiing with us, but his work schedule had changed, and he waited until late on Friday night to tell us that he couldn’t make it. We didn’t realize until later that this may have been more than an unfortunate coincidence.

The trip down Interstate 25 from Fort Collins to Denver was uneventful. Traffic was moving along at a good pace, and we talked about how good the skiing would be that day. There were several large snow storms over the Christmas holiday, and it snowed again just a few days before our trip. The powder promised to be exceptional that weekend. When we headed west on Interstate 70, the traffic started slowing down, and by the time we reached the Morrison exit, where the Interstate starts climbing steeply into the Rocky Mountains, the traffic had all but come to a stand still. Oh boy! This was going to be a long drive. The traffic did not improve, and it took us nearly 90 minutes to travel 31 miles to the turnoff at Highway 40. We finally got off the interstate at Highway 40 and went through the small town of Empire. We had Gary on the lookout for bighorn sheep since we usually see them between the interstate and Empire. No bighorns this time. We continued to climb toward Berthoud Pass as we pointed out avalanche chutes to Gary. As we rounded the hairpin turn at the Henderson Mine turnoff, I mentioned that we had not seen these avalanches run in quite some time.

We started the steep climb toward the summit of Berthoud Pass, and the song Affirmation by Savage Garden started to play on the CD player. Stanley Mountain, rising to a height of 12,524 feet, was on our left as we saw the first “Avalanche Area—No Stopping” signs. Seconds later and with no warning, the avalanche hit. It blew us up and over the guard rail and rolled us over and over. We hit the tree and came to a stop upside down—buried alive.

Digging Out

My side window blew in on me when the avalanche hit. I stuck my hand out, and when I pulled it back, I could see daylight. I immediately asked June, “Are you OK? Are you with me?” She replied, “Yes.” I asked Gary, “Are you OK? Are you with me?” He also replied, “Yes.” Then I said, “We’re going to be OK. We’ve got air!” It took me several minutes to get my seatbelt released. All the snow inside our car—and there was a lot—had jammed the release mechanism, making it difficult to unbuckle. Finally it released, and I dug my way out through my side window.

I immediately turned around and went back into the car head first to dig the snow away from June’s face. She was spitting snow and crumbs of glass. Her head was in a low position in the car, so all the snow that was still sifting in was piling up around her head. I dug like crazy to get the snow away so she could breathe. Once I had her face cleared, I tried to release her seatbelt. Hers was even tighter than mine. It wouldn’t come loose!

I crawled back out through my glassless window and stood up. I could see people standing way above us on Highway 40 looking down, and a few people had started down the slope with shovels. I couldn’t see clearly because my glasses had been blown off my face when the avalanche hit us. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Call 911 and somebody get me a knife. Get me a knife now!” I dropped to my knees and went back inside the car. More snow had accumulated around June’s face, so I helped her clear it again. She was starting to breathe harder and faster, but I couldn’t do anything to free her until someone brought me a knife.

I turned my attention to Gary in the backseat. I said to Gary, “It’s time to get you out.” Gary was able to snake his way between the two front seats and out my window. He was bleeding a little from a cut on his face, but he looked OK, although he was a little shaken up. After all, we had just been hit by a massive avalanche, thrown down a steep slope, broken a tree, and been buried alive. I asked him if he was OK, and he replied, “Yes.”

I went back inside the car to check on June. She was starting to panic a bit. As I crawled in through the window I heard her say, “Calm down. I need to calm down.” I cleared some snow from her face again and held her hand. She told me she was very uncomfortable and that her head, which was pinned between the collapsed roof and her head rest, was starting to really hurt. Gravity was pushing her down and lodging her head tighter. I held her hand and reassured her that everything was going to be alright. Someone would come any minute with a knife, and we would get her out. It had been more than 10 minutes since we were hit and buried, and she was pinned upside down with her head trapped the entire time.

Finally, I heard someone say that he had a knife. I came back out the window and told the guy to wait a minute—I never got your name, so thank you. Someone had found my avalanche shovel that was thrown from our trunk when we hit the tree. He had been digging out the driver side of the car. I took the shovel and shattered the only intact window, the driver side back window, and crawled into the backseat. I pushed up on June’s head and shoulders while the man cut her shoulder restrain. She was pulled out the side window and was finally free!

I crawled out from the backseat. As I stood up, June pointed to the van that had ended up about 100 feet below us. I turned and got a sick feeling in my stomach, and I thought, “I hope they are OK.” June immediately told the people who helped us, “We’re OK. Go check on them. They are probably in worse shape than we are.” Everyone who had gathered around our car started running toward the other car to help. We were left completely alone. We turned to each other and had a big group hug. At that exact moment, the CD player started playing right where it had left off when the avalanche hit us—Affirmation by Savage Garden.

Alive and Well

I had blood seeping down the left side of my face from several small cuts on my head. My left hand was bleeding from some small cuts, and I had blood coming out of my mouth from where I had chomped into my tongue. My back hurt, June’s right shoulder hurt, and Gary said his jaw hurt. All in all, we were OK, just a little banged up. We found out later that we had no serious injuries, and we were very fortunate to be alive. We looked up at the road. It seemed so far away and so steep. Then I noticed the tree that we had hit. It was 10 to12 inches in diameter and was lying right next to the other side of the car pointing downhill. It took us about 10 minutes to climb the hill and get back to the road. When we finally reached the road, we were on the east side of the avalanche-debris-field and had to climb up and over it—WOW! It was a really big pile of snow. We learned later from the Colorado Department of Transportation that it was 18 feet deep.

We were so cold and shivering uncontrollably. I was only wearing a long sleeve tee-shirt, and my pants were soaked from the waist down from standing in the snow. June was wearing her coat. I had pulled my coat out from the backseat before we headed up the hill and put it around Gary. Even with their coats on, they were shivering uncontrollably. Someone offered me a coat, and then I asked if I could borrow a cell phone to call Gary’s mother and my daughters to tell them we were OK. We went by ambulance to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. We were released around 3:35 p.m. We learned that four of five passengers in the van from Iowa had also walked out of the accident, and only one had to spend the night in the hospital. He was released the next day.

Lessons Learned from Being Swept Away

  • We are more grateful for all the family and friends that we have in our lives. So be grateful.
  • We are highly energized to do more of what we feel we should be doing in this world. Get energized.
  • We have always believed that people are inherently good, and this experience has renewed that faith in us because of all the individuals who helped out at the avalanche site. Have faith in people.
  • We don’t dwell on the little things because they are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Focus on life.
  • We see more humor in life and laugh at things and situations that may have bothered us before the accident. Keep a smile on your face.
  • We believe in divine intervention and truly value our lives. Believe in miracles!

Believe in Miracles—They Do Happen

Whether you believe in miracles or divine intervention; whether you believe in God, Buddha, Allah, Jehovah, or something else, I must tell you that something or someone intervened that day to protect all eight of the individuals that were hit by the massive avalanche. I was speaking to a dear friend shortly after the accident about what had happened and asked her thoughts on God, Allah, Buddha, and Jehovah and whether she thought any one of them had anything to do with our miracle survival. She replied, “Yes—I think it must have been a team effort.” I guess that someone has a bigger plan for me and that I must still have lots of work to do on this planet.

I want each and every one of you to become a healthy, happy, and productive member of our world. I don’t want you to get “swept away” by drugs, alcohol or negative associations. That is why I wrote this book. That is my purpose—that is my wish!

Getting It Done!

  • Be grateful for your life on this planet. Make a list of the things you are grateful for. Start with the basic necessities like being grateful for food, clean water, sanitation, a roof over your head, and free education. You can build on this list and include things like family, friends, pets, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, music, movies, hospitals, cars, highways, and airplanes. It’s your list of grateful things. Make sure you list at least fifty things!
  • Make a personal vow to “discover your gift,” your special purpose in life.
  • Follow the steps outlined in this book to help you on your journey through the turbulent teenage years.
  1. Have dreams and goals.
  2. Take action through personal initiative.
  3. Find people, we’ll call them mentors, to help you on your journey.
  4. Promise yourself that you will never, never, never give up!

©2008 David Boon. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.

Thank you for reading Chapter 1 of My Wish, by Dave Boon.
To order, please call 970-310-6404