Adventure Nannies Blog

Adventure Nannies Is Twelve!

 

For the past seven years, I’ve written some type of birthday blog for Adventure Nannies. I’ve made all sorts of cheesy developmental milestone jokes as we turned six, and eight, and even eleven, and talked about awards we won, press mentions we got, or how much we’d grown in the last year. But now we’re twelve. We’re getting too old for the jokes and entering our emo teen years – so this year, I thought I’d share our birth story with all of you.

In 2012, a travel nanny/wilderness first responder/gender studies major named Brandy was living in the basement of a family she nannied for with her boyfriend, a musician/New Jersey native/busboy. On her birthday that year, May 24th, her boyfriend gave her an amazing gift – the original version of the Adventure Nannies website. Brandy had coined herself as “the adventure nanny” and had been traveling with families for a few years. She’d backpacked through the Canadian wilderness and gone to Burning Man with toddlers. She’d also fallen in love with a musician and had been plotting how to somehow scale her hyper-niche skillset, and the many families who were drawn to it, and her, into a business. An LLC was formed, papers were filled out, and a tiny boutique nanny agency for extreme adventure families was born, with a few searches a year largely being filled by folks in Brandy’s social circle – people with the credentials and childcare experience to make sense on paper, sure, but mainly people who could vibe with families on these OIL (once-in-a-lifetime) experiences and trips to help remove some of the chaos that happens behind the framed photographs that become part of a generational legacy.

 

 

 


A few years went by before a song that had been written a decade before became an “overnight hit,” as is show business, and all of a sudden Adventure Nannies no longer felt like the biggest adventure Brandy could go on. Enter me, Shenandoah, a musician who happened to be having a much more familiar plotline. I went to school for opera performance, I was in bands and working at a coffee shop in Boulder (shout out to The Laughing Goat, the job that forever changed my life!), and I migrated to Seattle in 2007 – a place where being a barista and a musician seemed to have stronger potential. That being said – I’d worked at 4 cafes, 8 restaurants, nannied, taught piano lessons, put out a couple of records, played with a few amazing bands, toured, did all of the things a musician is supposed to do, and things just didn’t click. A few side hustles later, I re-connected with Brandy and consulted with Adventure Nannies for about a year before joining the team formally at the beginning of 2016.

The last eight years have been a wild ride, and this past year felt, in many ways, like a victory lap. Our team spoke at, attended, and even emceed conferences in Portland, Arizona, Morocco, Austin, New York, San Diego, and Seattle. We launched Nanny Camp, a 4-day retreat filled with arts and crafts, personal development workshops, campfires, hikes, and an opportunity for nannies to forge deep relationships in what can be a very isolating industry. (We’re hosting it again this year on a much larger scale – click here for more info!) I’ve also gotten to participate in the industry on a deeper level, including helping APNA launch an agency accelerator program for agency owners in the infant and toddler years of their businesses, serving as the board consultant for the International Nanny Association, continuing work with Nanny Relief Fund, the only 501(c)3 dedicated to providing financial relief for nannies experiencing hardship.

 

 

 

 

More (most?!) importantly, we’ve had the privilege of meeting hundreds of families in the past year who are exploring bigger and better futures for their families than we’ve ever met before. We’ve met parents who have taken gap years to whisk their kids on around-the-world trips or spend their summers immersing themselves in a new culture or exploring their heritage, and families who have migrated from Silicon Valley to Austin and Nashville and traded concrete jungles for wide open spaces. Every day, we get to meet families and learn about their wildest dreams and goals, and help them put together the support system they need and deserve to see those goals come to fruition. We have the distinct honor of being invited into families’ inner workings and helping them build the roadmap towards the lives they’re designing.

We’ve also been amazed by both the quality and quantity of nannies, newborn care specialists, and private educators we’ve met in the last 12 months! Professionals who pursued necessary career pivots during the height of COVID are re-discovering their passion for private service and supporting families directly, and now that we’ve been working in this space for 12 years, we have quite literally watched our candidates grow up and have developed decade-long relationships with our candidates and seen them flourish through opportunities with outstanding families.

 

 

 

 

There is nothing more gratifying in the work we do than seeing the transformative power of opportunity in the lives of our candidates, our families, and ourselves. On a personal note, I’ve somehow managed to travel even more behind the wheel of Adventure Nannies than I did as a touring musician. I ran the math, in fact, and Adventure Nannies has literally taken me to the moon and back in sheer number of miles – 538,020, to be exact, since March of 2016. On top of the miles, this organization has caused/forced me to grow as a human, as a leader, as a friend, as a member of my family, From the bottom of my heart to the past and present teammates at Adventure Nannies, to the families, nannies, newborn care specialists and educators who we’ve worked with, and especially to Brandy Schultz (whose birthday is coincidentally ALSO today), thank you for twelve amazing years.

By Shenandoah Davis – CEO/co-founder of Adventure Nannies

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