Unsung Hero: Bath's Darreby Ambler, leader of the 'Dream Teams'

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BATH — What did you love to do as a child?

What do you wish you could do now but haven’t done because of time constraints, money concerns, fear, lack of confidence, insufficient encouragement from friends or family, or simply inertia?

How often do we really take the time to acknowledge our passions and pursue our dreams?

“When people talk about what they love to do, they look beautiful,” Darreby Ambler said. “Everyone is amazing, everyone has their own gifts, their own spark of God to share.”

A Bath resident and Princeton graduate, Ambler is using her own considerable gifts to help other women pursue their dreams.

Inspired by Barbara Sher’s book, “Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want,” Ambler began leading “Dream Teams” for women last year. She has now led four different dream teams, all on a voluntary basis.

Each team consists of six to eight women who meet for two hours once a week for eight weeks. During the first two meetings, the women compile lists of “20 things I love to do” and discuss the factors that have prevented them from tapping their passions.

During the third meeting, each team member states the dream they want to realize and, with the group’s help, breaks down the steps needed to realize the dream.

At each meeting, the women discuss their progress, often motivated during the week by encouraging phone calls from other members.

“We tend to be braver about helping others reach their dreams than about striving to reach our own dreams,” Ambler said.

The dreams of the women in the first three dream teams ran the gamut, from being a torch singer to working on a mystery novel to playing a recorder. The women made strong strides towards achieving their respective dreams.

The fourth dream team was held at the Seacliff Apartments, a federally subsidized housing development. Here the dreams were more modest: eating a blueberry frappe at Fat Boy’s, going to a good Mexican restaurant, and visiting the Boothbay Botanical Gardens.

One woman, now blind, who used to spend much time on the water, wanted to go out in a boat. Ambler arranged for the whole group to go on an excursion with River Run Tours in Bath.

Ambler said the dream teams have spawned deep friendships in addition to motivating women to go for their dreams. Some of the members now run together on a regular basis, calling themselves FRBs (for Fabulous Running Bodies).

Ambler said she plans to continue the project, possibly expanding her network to include shelters for women or prisons.

“I ultimately want to go where women haven’t felt the right to dream, as they’ve been focused on survival,” she said.

Why does Ambler give so freely of her time and talents to help others realize their dreams?

“I love helping people do together what nobody could have done by themselves,” she said. “Your teammate may have just the contact you need, or the creative idea that gets you over the hurdle where you’ve been stuck. Most importantly, your teammates have courage for you when you lack your own, and persistence for you when you want to give up.

“It is such a simple thing, but incredibly powerful, to have a handful of kind people on your side, taking your dreams seriously and encouraging you to take them seriously too.”

Ambler, who can be reached at bathmatters@aol.com, offers sound advice to women and men of any age or status or condition.

“Don’t just let life happen to you,” she said. “Be deliberate about what you want. Get tips to overcome your fears. And set up a support team.”

Sidebar Elements

Darreby Ambler, right, of Bath, follows up with Jacqueline Zimowski after Zimowski’s trip to Kolkata, India, where she confronted the reality of child slavery and prostitution. Ambler has helped 30 women follow their dreams and will be starting two new groups in the coming few weeks. She can be reached at bathmatters@aol.com.

Darreby Ambler

Unsung Heroes

Part of a twice-monthly series of profiles by Brunswick writer David Treadwell about people who quietly contribute to the quality of life in greater Portland. Do you know an Unsung Hero? Tell us: heroes@theforecaster.net