An Inside Look at all things 3D Travel
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The Heart of 3D Travel Company
This article was published in 2011, when 3D had just celebrated a 5 year anniversary. How things have grown!
When I began 3D Travel Company I did it with three goals. They were so simple and I worried if I didn't define them early on I might lose sight of them. What were they?
- To give away half of everything we earned to help children and their families. (Not half of our net, half of our gross.)
- To help families experience a Disney vacation they previously thought they couldn't afford and to make magical memories happen for families of all socio-economic backgrounds.
- To justify my own families' Disney travels. Hey, just being honest!
In 2006 God blessed us tremendously and all three goals were met. We gave enough money to our local chapter of BACA to keep them running for an entire year. I personally helped families go to Walt Disney World who couldn't believe they were actually there - my favorite hugs came from the teenage boys who had just experienced a buffet for free. Those boys were huge! And they were full!
And of course, I had to go to Walt Disney World that year to host our first big Ultimate Field Trip. We lived small that year in order to make our trip happen, a theme that continues to this day and blesses us tremendously.
In 2007 we managed the same feat - all 3 of our goals were met. This time we set up a non profit and began the tiresome task of paperwork and menial details - something I'd rather pluck my eyes out than do again, and I'm only a little bit kidding. Goal number two and three also happened, making it our 4th year in a row to visit Walt Disney World as a family. That same year my body began to register the stress I was putting it under by being so successful so quickly, which led us to the decision to hire some of our best friends and most loyal clients to work for us.
But how would that work? How could we still give away half of our commission if we actually had to pay it to our agents? In short, it couldn't. We still weren't turning a profit, which means there was nowhere else to pull from. At this point I had to turn over the vision I had for my company to God. How would He make my investment of time and effort, sacrifice and love into something bigger than a great agency that specializes in Disney Destinations and Cruises? Because I have to be honest with you, that's not enough for me. It's great, but I need more. While I love turning a profit and especially seeing the agents who work for me make enough commission to pay for trips and bless their families, I want to see something great come of all this. And when I asked Him to make that something great happen for me (you know, if it's in your will and please God let it be in your will kinda prayers), let me tell you: He Showed Up!
Now we're a TEAM! There is enough talent, drive and sacrifice in this group to make our company grow and thrive indefinitely. I bring this up because you can't meet any goal without a backbone and a foundation Those ladies who joined us in the beginning - Amy, Kim, Charlene and Denise - That's what they are. The backbone and foundation of 3D Travel Company.
But what about my burning desire to make a difference? It was answered two ways. First, these ladies needed each other. We all had a missing place in our hearts for the others and just didn't know it until after we met and developed our relationships. I can give you a recent example of fhe fruit of this phenomenon from our cruise aboard the Disney Dream in January. It had been less than a year since I'd lost my mother, but less than a month since Charlene and Denise lost members of their immediate families. Then, while we were waiting to check in at the port, Kim got the goodbye call from her Papa, who had only been very recently diagnosed with cancer. We were there for their family to support them in love and listen as she talked through her options. Denise was busy that same day deciding whether or not to fly back for her brother's funeral. Yes, that's nearly too much to handle by yourself and that's why God put us there for each other.
I can't imagine I made that happen by myself - it's just not possible - a support system built of love with families whose kids adore each other when they're together and when they are apart. We celebrate each other's victory's, lament defeats, carry their burdens and love each other's kids as our own. We've all grown as mother's, parents and friends in ways we couldn't have without the others. It took me awhile to realize this was one of the answers to my prayers, because it's easy to dismiss what seems to come so naturally until you see the fruit of the process. The rest of what He has done is invisible. What we wanted to do was redeem the tragedy that had happened to our family by giving to families who were similarly affected by the same horror. We thought we could do that with big funding and no profits and visible efforts. When that door closed, I had to learn patience (again! Can I be done?) and wait to see how we could do this. And then the people came.
Time and again I answer emails, facebook contacts, phone calls and even meet people I've never heard of before who have been told to contact us for guidance and care. What do we have in common? Raising children who were assaulted. What do I offer them? Advice, hope and sometimes a pretty good butt-kicking. Many of them come back to me but many do not. The road to healing for both parents and their kids is long and arduous, full of sacrificial decisions. Not everyone chooses to do the right thing. But those who brave it out find the same amazing grace we've experienced and they don't have to walk it alone like we did.
And I never have to go find them. God brings them to me. It is always through a network of sharing and caring through the girls who work for me, the clients who know our story, the friends they have made....our story has resonance and it brings healing. We are so blessed to share it. It will never cease to amaze me that we have been able to give of ourselves in this way to others merely by selling Disney.
How weirdly crazy is that? But there you go. Bunch of crazy women who joined our team And in the last year we've embarked on a new chapter, hiring another group of women to join our team. We only hired former clients and within our group are ladies who have walked through pain themselves, held others up and believe in investing in something bigger. They work long and hard and look forward to long-term rewards. Nothing comes swiftly when you work on commission. Or at least, it doesn't seem to!
With each risk and investment they make they're also contributing to meeting the goals we've had from the beginning. And the rewards are sweet! What do our goals look like now?
- To give away half of ourselves to help families in need. We invest our time, our love and at times we do have enough money to give away - but we can't count on it. Usually we're called to make the bigger sacrifice of self. And that's okay! In fact, it's good.
- To help families experience a Disney vacation they previously thought they couldn't afford and to make magical memories happen for families of all socio-economic backgrounds. - This goal has only grown and expanded to include thousands of clients each year.
- To justify my own families' Disney travels - and now the travels of 12 other famlies. It's a good thing we're growing so much, huh? I'm sure the next 5 years will bring new roads for all of us to travel and we may meet these goals in a totally different way I can't imagine or comprehend, but we won't lose sight of what is most important in our work - the 3 goals that make up the heartbeat of 3D Travel Company.here ...