By Maria Wyllie
Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant
BIG SKY – Team Human has few limitations. The organization has sent kids to tour a Washington apple orchard, built bamboo bikes in Portugal, and run a nationwide music tour. The idea: invite people all over the world to participate and connect with each another.
For two years running, Team Human has brought school groups to Hidden Ciders apple orchard near Spokane, Wash. There, kids learn where their food comes from and what Team Human represents.
“Because it is a human movement, it has to be that broad,” said co-founder Pat “Kuru” Gannon, referring to the unusually wide scope of projects the group supports. “We are mainly working with people who are looking to connect on a grander scale.”
Team Human was born in 2008, when a group of eight individuals with a shared passion for traveling and connecting met while working as ski and snowboard instructors at Moonlight Basin. While many of the original founders are still involved, the organization is now spearheaded by musician Rob “Big Water” Selvaggio and Gannon, a pro skier and founder of Moonlight Basin’s freeride program.
“It grew and grew to the point where me and Big Water said we need to do something bigger and promote it as more of a movement,” Gannon said. “It was really resonating with people.”
Currently working toward nonprofit status, Team Human aims to generate a global conversation about what it means to be human, and about coming together to create positive change. Gannon is open to all project ideas, as long as they support the Team Human cause.
In one example, a war veteran who fought in Somalia and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder builds toys as a way of giving back, and Team Human sends them to children in Africa. Called Team Human Toys, Gannon says they provide hope.
Gannon and Selvaggio recently joined forces with local musician Kent Johnson to create the “Face to Face, Up Close and Personal” music tour. They spent 40 days on the road, traveling in the Team Human van from Portland, Ore., to Key West, Florida, playing music and spreading the word about Team Human.
Selvaggio, whose music career is based mostly in Portland, said the tour was an avenue to help generate conversation about what it means to be human.
“Although it’s a simple question, we’ve found that a lot of people have a hard time talking about it,” he said. “By creating spaces and events in a fun, safe way, we are helping bring people together in a positive environment where they can share ideas.”
Scotty Williams, another skier who works part-time at Moonlight Basin, has watched Team Human grow over the past few years.
“Team Human in Big Sky shows how we should ski the mountain, because treating people right on the mountain is treating people right in life,” Williams said.
Gannon hopes Team Human will help people adopt a more global perspective, even if they haven’t had the opportunity to experience different cultures.
“By joining Team Human, you are broadening your perspective,” Gannon said. “It’s about engaging and participating in the world that affects you.”