Profile Picture
The senior living industry has a voice. You can hear it on Bridge the Gap podcast!

Episode 101: First Ever Podcast from A Hot Air Balloon

Hosts Lucas McCurdy, Josh Crisp and producer Sara Mitchell record the first ever podcast episode from a hot air balloon in Palm Desert, California.

Stephanie Kolbo from NRC Health and Cameron Barajas from OneDay joined the BTG team in the hot air balloon excursion.

Lucas: Welcome to Bridge the Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas and our producer, Sara. You guys, if you’re listening to this right now, you’ve got to go and watch on YouTube and Facebook because we are recording from way up in the air in a hot air balloon and I don’t think it’s ever been done. 

Josh: I think it’s a first. And we are in Palm Desert just outside of Palm Springs, California. A beautiful sunrise behind us. So again, if you’re just listening to this and if you’re just hearing that loud noise, that’s actually the fires lighting to ignite this balloon and keep us up off the group. 

Lucas: Sara, whose idea was this? 

Sara: Well, so can we say that the idea that became a reality 48 hours ago from Josh Crisp. 

Josh: Yes, from my living room actually in Knoxville, Tennessee. I texted, I group texted you all and said, hey, Palm Desert. Hot air balloon. Could we possibly podcast from there? 

Lucas: The man who’s actually a little bit afraid of heights. 

Josh: I’m scared to death but I’ll tell you, it was high anxiety when we first took off, but while you’re up here, you really just, your breath gets taken away at the beauty and it’s absolutely spectacular. This has always been on my bucket list, and I couldn’t be happier to check it off with you today, buddy. 

Lucas: Yeah, Sara, maybe for the listeners right now that aren’t going to, that don’t have time to watch a video, maybe we should describe the scene and the experience of takeoff and what we’re seeing. 

Sara: Gosh, it’s pretty incredible. So we chose the sunrise balloon ride. So, we met the crew in this open field and absolutely beautiful balloon. Will, how large is this balloon? 

Will: It’s 160,000 cubic feet. 

Sara: 160,000 cubic feet says our balloonist, our operator. It’s absolutely beautiful. We’ve seen Palm Cove, just the most amazing sites of palm trees, coves of different- I don’t even know. 

Lucas: fig trees, we’re surrounded by mountains. 

Sara: Yeah! It’s a little bit chilly up in the air. 

Josh: And off in the distance, even though it’s nice weather here, snow-capped mountains in the background where there’s Big Bear Mountain that Will pointed out to us. And just the scenery is incredible. It really is. 

Sara: So we decided in 2020 that this would be a new year. We have had so much feedback. We wanted to take it not only to a new level, but we’ve kind of jokingly said that we’re going to take this season to new heights. So, for this episode, my goodness we are literally in a hot air balloon taking this season to new heights.

Josh: What a better way to kick off the conference season for 2020. We’re outside- 

Lucas: -Season 3. 

Josh: That’s right. Our season 3 opener conference at ASHA. So happy to be here. Happy to be here with partners, right, and partners is what has made this possible. Our listeners, our fans, our followers have made this possible. So, this is just the kickoff season. It really is. It’s amazing. 

Lucas: So, we’re in a little basket. There’s not very much room, but we do have Phil, our videographer, and we’ve got Steph from NRC. She is putting her fears aside and joining us with this. And we’ve got Cameron from OneDay holding the camera as he should be, the video app. These guys are awesome and up for any adventure and a big part of making season three a reality. 

Josh: Yeah, it’s super awesome. So we have talked about, even when we kicked off the year with our first episode that this is the year that it’s all about our listeners. All about those who follow us, that want the information. We’re getting so much feedback, so we’re crafting content around our listeners. We’re adding bonus content, increased episodes that we can’t wait to bring you. 

So, you know, as we were thinking of like how do we kick off this season, what better way to do that? And again, as we were googling, we don’t even know if there’s been a podcast done from a hot air balloon? Maybe there has? I don’t know. 

Lucas: Definitely not in senior living. We know that. 

Sara: Yeah, let’s touch on that just a second. We heard a ton of feedback, especially most recently, about this growing audience which is maybe a younger crowd, maybe those coming out of college, who are looking to the senior living industry as their first place of work. Can we just talk about how fun it really is? I mean, Bridge the Gap has been a very specific tool that we’ve been able to use and a lot of companies and businesses have been able to use with their teams, but on the education side, for someone looking in, someone looking at Bridge the Gap thinking, look at these guys in a hot air balloon, let’s just talk about how fun the industry is. 

Josh: Well, it is a ton of fun. And the cool thing as we’ve had the opportunity to speak at universities and things like that, it doesn’t matter the field of study you’re in, whether it’s marketing, whether you’re in a health field, whether you’re in finance, technology, human resource. You can find a career and a home in senior living and there’s so much career pathways and opportunities and it is fun. 

You know, not everyday in senior living are you going to find yourself in a hot air balloon, I’ll be honest with you. But what more rewarding a career, and as we know, we all have a purpose in life and we all have unique talents and abilities and things we’ve been trained to do. And there’s application for that in senior living and it’s a growing and a booming industry and we need more workers. So, what a bright opportunity for young individuals but any age. To be honest with you, there’s so many opportunities no matter what age you are. You may find yourself, you’ve retired and you want to look for an opportunity to do something in senior living and there’s opportunities. So, I just think it’s great. 

We talk a lot about multigenerational living, but it’s also multigenerational working. And so, young and old. It’s an awesome (career) and I personally can’t think of anything else that you could do and be more rewarded for it. 

Lucas: It’s hard work. It’s rewarding work. The year is 2020. Over the next ten years, from 2020 to 2030, I think that this is going to be one of the most remarkable decades since probably the boom in the 90s that senior living has ever seen. I think that there is going to be disruption. I think there’s going to be a lot of changes and there’s going to be a lot of things that are influencing those changes. And that’s one of the reasons we bring on the thought leadership that we have. 

Sara: That’s right and we have big plans for this year. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the things that we’ll be sharing this year. We have an awesome lineup of guests. We talk about that all the time but we have also taken a ton of feedback from our listeners who have said we want to hear about this topic or we want to hear from this person. Can we share a little bit about those plans and the topics and the resources we’re going to be able to provide this season?

Lucas: Yeah, for sure. We’ve got a very big tour planned for this year. We’re going to be headed out to the biggest conferences. We’ve partnered with all of them to help get some insiders. We’re going to be essentially a backstage pass to all the keynote speakers to bring that thought leadership to our audience. And there’s so many people that go to attend the conference and they can‘t take in all the information and there’s so many people that are in our audience that can’t go to the conference and we’re going to bring that thought leadership directly to them.

Josh: Yeah and one of the things I’m excited (about) this year is we have developed and created with our thought leaders so much content but a lot of it has been very big picture. So, this year, we’re going very deep and very specific topics with some of the industry’s best professionals. And you know, the show that we have, every Monday morning, I’m looking forward to bringing some additional bonus shows. We’ve heard that from our listeners that they want even more content, they want even more shows. So, we’re working extra hard this year to bring extra content.

Lucas: That’s right. And new people, new people in the industry, new influencers in the business and as we’ve said in our season opener, Sara, is that we want to connect with our listeners on a deeper level because this season is really all about them.

Sara: It is. And, you know, pretty easy ways to do that. Obviously, social media, but we also have these new outlets and platforms to not only hear from our listeners, but to also engage them on contributing, to providing resources and blogs and content and things that we can share as Bridge the Gap. You can find all that information at Obviously on social media, btgvoice. We have big plans for the year so we want to hear from listeners and we want to share a lot more information. 

Josh: Well, I have really personally enjoyed all of the different listeners and followers that have actually been emailing us and texting us and tweeting us and just all the different ways they’re contacting us and telling us what they really enjoy, what they want more of and actually already contributing. So, there is a wealth of knowledge and I’ve had two executive directors from communities just in the last week share information and there’s such rich information that these people have and that’s why our communities that these seniors, elders are living in are so blessed to have great leaders. 

Lucas: Yeah and Josh, you’ve been in the business 15+ years and you’ve seen the culture shift, you’ve seen things change in the industry, why do you think that this information is so important to get out and be freely accessible for everybody? 

Josh: Well, you know, information and education is key, right, to growth. And I really think in the last 15 years that I’ve been in the space, you know, we talked about this a little bit last night Lucas, there’s kind of this passing of the mantle. Our industry is changing so much and I’m seeing this young generation of young leaders that are extremely talented, great thought leaders, and the c-suite, the people who have built this industry that we respect so much are now recognizing that, you know, it’s all about mentorship and it’s all about grooming the next generation of leadership. So, I think our platform with the collaboration of our listeners and our guests are really going to help lead the way to share the information, to coordinate with one another, to actually rally together to bring our industry together to meet, actually, a lot of challenges, a lot of opportunities as we move into the 2020’s. 

Lucas: Right, exactly. I mean, technology is booming in the space. Culture shift is booming in the space. Training, retention, recruiting, analytics, human resources, surveys, all of these things are big key influencers to positive outcomes and it’s interesting to see where that’s going to go over the next few years. 

Josh: It really is. And you touched on a lot of points and I think a lot of times, even with our partner with NRC, they talk about human understanding a lot. I think that’s one of the things that we can learn when we collaborate together and when we partner, we better understand each other and understand our industry and better understand how to meet the needs that are growing. 

Lucas: Well, and you know, we talk about it a lot. It’s those love stories. Josh, you talk about it a lot. Sara, is there, has that been part of your experience of entering the space is learning and hearing those love stories that’s kind of captivated you? 

Sara: It has totally captivated me. It’s the love stories that have changed not only my perception of the industry but the real life people, the real life residents, the real life stories and the things that are happening. And yes, there are challenges and struggles, as with any job with any industry, but yeah, it’s totally the love stories. It’s the videos, it’s the photos, it’s the memories that are being created. I mean, truly, it has brought not only a passion, but just an eye-opening experience and I hope that a lot more people can see that that maybe aren’t even, aren’t in the industry, they can see it from the outside and then obviously those serving in the industry can totally see it as they’re living it. 

Lucas: I think that’s part of the common thread that you’ve mentioned so many times is the love stories that really all the people in the business, as they’ve encountered the residents and the staff that are really head down, working, putting their hearts into this work, you learn and hear about this stuff and there’s no other industry that even comes close to it. 

Josh: No, there is not. And, you know, one of the exciting things that we’ve been able to do as we’re going out into the communities is we need to encourage the community to recognize the love stories. They are working so hard every day and what we’ve learned is they’re working so hard and producing so many great stories of success that oftentimes they don’t acknowledge themselves at that. So we like to pat them on the back and tell them what a good job they’re doing and help share those love stories because we know that our industry has the ability to meet the challenges of an aging population. We’re excited to do that. 

Lucas: And it’s a lot of fun and I can see that we’re actually about to land so we probably ought to land the show as well. What a great idea, Josh. So glad that our partners are able to experience this with us. It’s just going to be a great season and we want to connect with our listeners on a deeper level. I think it’s going to be a great year. 

Sara: Congratulations to you guys. I think you guys have a lot to bring this season and what a great way to kick it off. 

Lucas: Awesome. And thank you for listening to another great episode of Bridge the Gap.

Thank you to our supporting partners NRC Health, OneDay, TIS, Morrison Living, Argentum, Solinity, and The Bridge Group Construction.  

Episode 101: First Ever Podcast from A Hot Air Balloon