- Eternal Flame
Oh, The Places We Can Go
Have you ever willingly exchanged the comfort of your daily life or home to venture into some of the world’s greatest or unknown places just to simply experience adventure and the grandeur of the world?
For three brothers, West Texas A&M University has brought them more than just a college experience. It brought them adventure, community, and memories. Brothers Trent Kelly, 25, Blake Kelly, 23, and Cam Kelly, 20, have tackled the idea of simply living and treating life as an adventure.
The three brothers originally grew up in Palmdale, California, just north of the thriving city of Los Angeles. They spent most of their formative years participating in the typical California activities such as surfing, scuba diving, rock climbing, backyard hangouts at the pool, and even an occasional outing to Disneyland.
Aside from the typical California activities, the brothers have experienced more atypical adventures than most. One brother’s trip involved 36 hours of hiking in Zion National Park during the peak of winter. Another brother’s trip had him living out of a car and tent for a week while traveling the ‘Ring Road’ in Iceland. A third brother spent seven days taking on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with a summit of 16,100 feet.
Insane, right? Not many people love the idea of no cell phone service and being “stuck in hard situations,” that involve overcoming extreme physical and mental challenges. The Kellys’ inspirations and their shared belief that life is one monumental quest helps sustain their bond.
That core value and sense of adventure definitely runs in the family, from parents all the way down to the youngest Kelly brother. For all three brothers, their father serves as a pivotal role model in travel and in life.
“I still want to have just as good of stories as [my father] and adventures as cool,” said Cam Kelly, the youngest brother.
Though each Kelly brother is creating their own life stories and memories, WTAMU is just another tie that binds them together. Coming from the West Coast, where adventure consisted of beaches and exhilarating hikes, to the rather vast and sparse Texas Panhandle was nothing short of culture shock.
After growing up in the same private school, taking the leap of leaving everybody to knowing nobody intimidated the oldest brother, Trent. He led the way to WTAMU, thus starting what would turn into a trend amongst the Kellys.
Middle brother Blake, however, faced no worries at all in venturing to WTAMU. In the same way, youngest brother Cam was just as excited to join his brothers in the Panhandle after a few years in California without them.
Despite some apprehension each brother faced about transitioning to Canyon, collectively they now agree that Canyon is home right now. When you can’t envision yourself leaving the people in your life for anything, why leave?
Each of the Kellys fell right into place at WTAMU, quickly becoming involved in a variety of campus organizations like S.A.G.E. (Students Assisting in Good Endeavors), Rogers LEAD WT, Bolt, study-abroad trips, and serving as Resident Assistants while living on campus. By embracing their time in the Panhandle, the brothers have also nurtured their passions in mechanical engineering, leadership, rock climbing, serving others, traveling and sharing Christ's love.
Along the way, Trent Kelly, Blake Kelly and Cam Kelly have come to understand that the key to college is being passionate about places you spend your time, and the people you spend your time with.
All in all, just imagine the places you could go if you embraced the mentality that no move is necessarily undesirable, but rather an adventure: an opportunity to learn from experiences, to grow more, to fully experience new places, to enjoy the times with people around you, and to simply take a deep breath and realize there is always enough time.
By: Jessie Joseph
Art work created by Hailee Cox