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...Mission Statement

About us


TrueNorth and Associates​

We have many associates who have helped us over the years!  


We have had great people helping with strategic decisions, networking, on-site event management, website design, photography, curriculum review, setup & teardown, facilitation, evaluation, safety support, etc.  We also strive to collaborate with many organizations, by combining resources to achieve common goals


Jeff Coates is the chief navigator, facilitator, and photographer!

...About the Founder

Jeff Coates is the owner and founder of TrueNorth and Associates in Indianapolis, IN.  He founded this life-adventure business as part of a life-long dream in 1998. Even though he lives in a land-locked, no-altitude, Midwestern state, he is passionate about living and photographing life's adventures.


His spirit is fun, upbeat, adventurous, and collaborative by nature.  He tries to live a simple, God-centered lifestyle, and attempts to inspire others to see their value & strengths, and to live-out their own adventures of life!  He feels everyone is important, and tries to include, rather than exclude.


He believes a lot of life lessons can be learned from being outside in nature.  He likes to facilitate self-discovery "learn by doing," by being a "guide on the side, not a sage on the stage!" He strives to follow a life-compass rooted in making good choices, despite life's challenges.


He strives to connect a respect for paying attention to the "little things", with the opportunities of the big picture of life.  He feels it's important to give back, and does so by volunteering in the community.  He has also developed a passion for recognizing and capturing those "decisive moments" of everyday life, hence TrueNorth Life Photography!

...TrueNorth Purposes
  • Inspire and encourage other to reach their potential

  • Engage others in outdoor adventures free from normal noises, distractions, and stresses

  • Engage others in safe adventures involving challenge, risk-taking, uncertainty, unpredictable outcomes, and choice of behaviors

  • Engage other in supervised adventures that emphasize personal safety, boundaries, norms, expectations, and consequences

  • Facilitate learning through personal reflection, small group interaction, and applying learned insights to life and work

  • Model responsible environmental stewardship during outdoor activities

  • Facilitate self-discovery learning through TrueNorth activities

  • Respectfully capture "decisive moments" through professional photography

...TrueNorth Values
  • Challenge by choice

  • Problem-solving develops depth of character

  • Character determines outcomes

  • Self-Discovery leads to deeper learning and understanding

  • Failures, mistakes, risk-taking lead to deeper life learning

  • Give credit where credit is due by recognizing gifts and contributions of others

  • Accept responsibility for one's decisions and actions

  • Celebrate accomplishments and milestones

  • Respect history, but look to the future

We strive to create and photograph safe, yet challenging adventure experiences, that result in the self-discovery of life values and practical lifetime skills.

...Thoughtful Words

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."

Author Unknown


"You can learn more about a person in an hour's worth of play, than in a day of conversation."


"We cannot teach people anything;  we can only help them discover it within themselves."
Galileo Galilei


"I hear and I forget,

I see and I remember,

I do, and I understand"



"Watch with gittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don't believe in magic, will never find it."
Ralph Steadman


"Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character.

Watch your character, as it becomes your destiny."

Frank Outlaw


"Once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, it no longer matters."

Scott Peck


"Courage is not the absence of fear.  It is the taking of action, in spite of fear."

Scott Peck

The TrueNorth Facilitation Philosophy:
Help Others, by being a....

"Guide on the Side,
Not a Sage On the Stage..."



...TrueNorth Facilitation Style
  • "A Guide on the Side, Not a Sage on the Stage"

  • "Tell me, I may forget; show me, I may remember; let me do it, I'll understand"

  • Skilled, experienced facilitation can deepen learning through self-discovery

  • Push comfort zones, not panic zones

  • Learning takes place when challenged

  • Different people learn in different ways, and facilitator must understand this

  • Constantly look for teachable moments

  • Answers lie within the group:  we can learn from each other

  • Value of personal and small group reflection

  • It's ok to have fun!

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