by Jim Owen, Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership
In this season of giving thanks, the cowboy is, as always, a
source of inspiration. Throughout their
history and right up to the present day, cowboys have rarely possessed much in
the way of material goods. Yet they know they are rich in their love of
the earth and the sky above, their simple, rugged way of life, and their strong
sense of community. In short, cowboys
remind us that the best things in life aren’t things.
As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, I’d like to share
what I’m especially grateful for this year—that is, all the people and
partnering organizations that work every day to help us get out the word that
“everyone needs a code…a creed to live by,” and spread the message that
character and personal principle still matter above all.
While we at The Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership have
big aspirations, we are a small foundation. On our own, we have limited reach and
resources. So all along, our approach
has been to share our ideas freely and let others take it from there.
The results have been nothing short of astonishing! So many
people have not only been inspired by the concepts of Cowboy Ethics, the Ten
Principles to Live By, and The Try, but have also been moved to put these ideas
into action in their businesses, schools, youth groups, public agencies, and
community organizations. And a few, like
the extraordinary team at The Daniels Fund, have provided financial support to those
groups, helping them to advance and scale their work.
Some of our partners—like the University of Wyoming College
of Business, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Future Farmers of
America, Boy Scouts of America, and Colorado Boys Ranch—I’ve come to know well
through years of collaboration. I’m
still amazed that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming managed to raise
the funds to build a $1 million Cowboy Ethics Club facility for teens in Casper! And almost every week, I hear from someone
who has called or emailed to let me know they are using the principles of Cowboy
Ethics or The Try in programs of their own. But we can only guess how many more are out
there, living their codes and letting others know how the cowboy has inspired
them, too. I would love to hear from any
So this is what I will be thinking of as we bow our heads
over the Thanksgiving table. Being able to count on your “pards” is a big part
of the cowboy tradition. I’m humbled and
immensely grateful to have so many I can count as mine.