We had the good fortune of connecting with Chad Wallen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chad, how does your business help the community?
We are a generation changer. Advance Camp mentors fatherless young men. We teach them tangible skills that we feel a father should have if they were still around. These skills are commonly trade skills that can be pursued as a career. We speak identity and confidence in the young men, along with teaching them how to respect women and others. At Advance Camp we call the campers “Young Men” because thats what they are growing into. There are many issues in society right now which include incarceration, homelessness/run aways, high school drop outs, and teen suicide. The largest portion of these identities are the fatherless. We are here to battle those paths. By speaking identity, teaching trade skills, and building confidence, we see their trajectory changed. We have already seen campers complete high school that had planned to drop out and young men with no direction in life find a trade that they want to pursue.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There are a couple things that really set us apart from others that serve a similar group. The biggest thing that sets us aside is our diversity of teaching topics. We have come across many other nonprofit ministries that serve the fatherless and even specifically the fatherless young man but they stick to one general subject such as construction specific or outdoor specific. Our mission statement says we teach tangible trades and skills that we feel a father should have if they were still around, along with the love of Christ. Our trade and tangible skills can literally be anything we feel a father should have taught. We do outdoor stuff like fishing and hunting, but we also do General contracting, welding, fabrication, automotive, leather work, bicycle tuning and repair, BBQing, cooking, lawn care, and small engine repair. It’s not always easy to have such a diversity in topics. The cost to really get camp moving can be a challenge because there are so many tools, parts, and pieces to make it all happen. The other difficult thing is to find the right people to be the “Product Knowledge Expert” that comes from the community to teach the topic and host us, typically at the location of the trade.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is how do you tell the story of your “business” that makes it easier for people to relate to.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When we have friends or family come from out of town we always try to take them to the Fort Worth Stock Yards for the cattle drive, Little Elm in Dallas, Dinosaur Valley outside of Glen Rose, and Stumpy’s Lake Side Grill in Granbury.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shout out goes to my wife. From the beginning she has been my biggest advocate, supporter, and encourager. When I start going a little out of my lane, need new ideas, or a sounding board, she is right there.