By: Jennifer Callaway
Why would a man with a PhD in leadership and a 30-year history of teaching leaders and mentoring others, seek the help of the Halftime Institute? Lee DeRemer is that man, and his story offers much insight into the vital role Halftime can play in the life of anyone who needs guidance on the journey from “success to significance.”
Lee retired from the US Air Force in 2010, and almost immediately faced a fork in the road of his life. “I had a false start…I accepted a comfortable position to do in civilian clothes what I had been doing in the Air Force for the last four years…I took the safe route instead of looking harder at how I might follow my heart.”
Pressing the Reset Button
By 2011, Lee knew that he needed to do something different. He had taken the safe route rather than considering what God might want in his second half. He and his wife Marcie decided to take three years of “transitional time,” and seek the Lord’s guidance for the future. During this period, he pursued his PhD while continuing to work at the Pentagon. Then, early in 2014, a series of “divine appointments” opened the door to the future for the DeRemers.
One day Lee shared his need for clarity with a group of Christian military friends as a prayer request. One in the group gave him a name that would become key in the next steps of his process, Bob Durfey, Halftime coach and military retiree. “I knew Halftime, but it had never occurred to me to contact them.” Lee says.
After a few conversations with Bob, the next divine appointment came in the form of Lee enrolling in the Halftime Institute program and kicking things off with his cohort at the September 2014 Halftime Launch Event. “I wanted to invest in time with professional coaches who can lead me in discovering the next steps.” He was so impressed with his experience, he and Marcie attended the couples’ event three weeks later in Orlando. “It really helped both of us feel affirmation of the preparations and prayer we were going through. We wanted to honor God, use our gifts and align our passions with our experiences, and the Launch Event helped us to do that.”
The Launch Events, followed by the year of cohort and coaching calls that are part of the Halftime program, gave them confidence as they faced the unknown future they had committed to.
The most helpful exercise in the launch event was “stories without words” where participants must illustrate their vision on a board with pictures. The first one Lee drew was a story about Lifecycles. The seed of this vision had been planted in 2009 when two teenage boys in Lee’s family lost their father. Lee took them on a 25-day bicycle trip with the idea of helping them process the difficult time they were going through. That trip had germinated an idea for a ministry that combined boys’ need for exercise with strong mentors.
When he drew his story, the seed bore fruit. The next day, as cohort members drew their story board a second time, Lee left out his bicycle idea, focusing instead on coaching, which seemed to fit so well with his background, training and experience. The group asked him “what happened to the bicycle story?” And Lifecycles was born. “It was clear to everybody in the room just listening to me talk about it that my heart was more strongly on the idea of saving lives by changing futures with this bicycling program.”
The year since has been a continuation of the affirmation and support the DeRemers experienced at the Launch Event. The coaching and cohort phone calls that are an integral part of the Halftime program have continued to guide and encourage them to trust God as they go from the comfort of a known income and future, to one of unknown but exciting possibilities.
The mission of LIFECYCLES is to “build young men of character in a Christ-centered bicycle touring adventure experience for urban teens with a mentoring program to guide them into adulthood.” The program provides bicycles and mentors to young men in at-risk situations, ranging from age 11-19. Coming to ride three days a week is the entry point into relationships with caring adults who encourage them to grow to maturity in every area of life. It’s goal is to successfully launch them on a path that may not otherwise be available to them because of life circumstances.
In concert with partner organizations, they mentor the boys on basic life skills and relationships, and teach them to serve their community. The guiding principle in all they do is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Each meeting begins with a short devotional time, confirming and affirming the faith that underpins everything they do.
Marcie plays an important part as well. “I am the team mom,” she says. Gifted as an administrator and encourager, her role is behind the scenes, providing meals, hugs, one-on-one mentoring with both the boys and the moms. And managing the many other details that go into the program come easily to her.
Support comes from many other places as well. From free advice on starting the ministry, to local people supporting the ministry, to a board that supports and advises Lee in this endeavor, the affirmations continue to communicate to Lee and Marcie that this is God’s best for them. The most surprising thing to Lee, though, has be
en the boys’ parents. “The parents make it all worthwhile.” The appreciation, encouragement and support makes for a “family-like atmosphere.” Many of the families are suffering great trials. “We focus on encouragement, building up the positive and doing what we can to bring some support to the family.”
God at Work
Two stories Lee shares give just a snapshot of the impact that Lifecycles is already having. One boy came into the program with many physical and emotional struggles. Through the support, encouragement and challenges he received, he commited to prove to himself as well as others that he could rise to the challenge. He has not missed a day since that decision.
Another young man came to Lifecycles having enlisted in the Air Force. When he encountered difficulties in the process, Lee acted as his advocate, using his influence and Air Force experience to protect the youth from recruiter mistakes and misguidance.
These stories of encouragement and advocacy are just a small sampling of the impact Lifecycles is already having as it completes its first year. Without the guidance of the Halftime Institute program —the Launch Event, the coaching and his cohort— they might never have happened. Halftime can help anyone who desires to have an eternal impact on the lives of others.
If you relate to Lee’s Halftime story and want to discover and live out your calling, schedule an appointment with Rhonda Kehlbeck Members Launch Events.