Our history begins in the life and death of Dan McCabe. Dan was a student at Wellesley High School, where, with a determination to forge a place for kids searching for a sense of belonging, Dan campaigned for a permanent location for the path in the woods, a place kids could go to gather in peace and harmony.
Dan managed to get town and school officials to let him build a path on town property near the high school. Dan’s commitment to his cause and his friends inspired us to create the foundation in the spirit of his path. The foundation was created by Dan’s family and generations of friends from Wellesley High School.
The symbolic image of a path allowing someone to find their way within the pressures of teenage life and a cloud that grew darker and darker for Dan, did not escape him. He ultimately chose the path out of this world into another, where we will see him again. His work goes on and so will ours through the A Path In The Woods Foundation in order to help kids like Dan find a path in this world that will lead them to a life and career of contentment.
The work we do will continue to evolve through human and electronic networks. We will share our ideas and experiences and promote opportunities for young adults to explore careers. We will help those that have found their path share their talents and gifts with others through our website. We will continue to hold dear in our hearts the afterglow of Dan’s vision to bring people together in peace in harmony.
The Path: A Community of Outcasts – Part 1
By Dan McCabe
Our story begins on an average day where an average boy is attending an average high school. The boy was no different that any other, he did his work, went to class, and listened to his teachers. He, like most other students at the school, was a dilettante of social culture, trying out the latest fads and “what was cool”. Though nothing was too egregious to make his life bad, he thought it to be a fetid, immutable excuse for a high school experience. “This sucks, everyday is the same” he always commented to his friends.
Our average hero had no after school activities and little friends to spend time with, therefore he would walk to and from school most days. Near the school there was a path leading into the woods. He had passed it many times during his walks but was circumspect of it, staying away from the unfamiliar upper classmen, and their smoking. One day he had had enough, like the flip of a switch or an auger burning up wood, he would walk down to the smokers in the woods and talk with them. This moment of lucidity was one of the sanest choices he had ever made. He was finally feeling good about his actions.
His new found path friends were more affable and innocuous than any other group he met. They were the friendliest people he had met so far in high school and so peaceful that even the ants felt safe around them. Our hero was a neophyte beginner in the ways of the path. At first he was taciturn, saying little to the other members of his small club. He started going before and after school. He enjoyed the mornings because of the sweet mellifluous music echoing from the wild life, protected by the woods.
Time went on with our hero and the path, but entropy engulfed the group. A few of the regular members moved to new schools or stopped coming; resulting in turmoil and obstinacy, stubbornness to change. The hero began recruiting more friends. It was clear now that a change needed to be made. The peripatetic path was moving from place to place until a good fit was found.
The moral of the path community was lifted once again. More people became regulars and our hero’s once small group of friends was now a sizable force. Unlike other clicks or groups the path kids were unique. They weren’t ostentatious displaying their parent’s wealth, or excluding to any new comers, or angry, or mean. They formed a bond tighter than any other at the high school because everyone looked out for each other.
This path community was a group of kids, outcast from other places to form something never imagined by anyone; in this lonely spot in the woods, on a quiet walking trail.
Painting of Dan by Holly Bedrosian