Day 25 – 25.8 km (total – 453.6 km)
Today’s visit with Millcrest Academy in Grand Falls – Windsor was fun! 329 students from grades 4-6 filled the gymnasium and seemed engaged in our message of getting outside. It was interesting to hear the gasps when I told them the number of hours that most youth spend in front of screens in a given week. They were eager to volunteer in the discussion and had many questions!
I’m thankful for these interactions with students. I’m not sure we’ll ever know the full extent to which this project impacts students… I think of Emilee in Paradise and her speech to the school about getting outside. Will that experience shape her commitment to being outside? I think of Austin today and our 100 metre race in the gym. Will that brief encounter resonate with him years down the road? Perhaps questions that will remain with me for awhile, but I do know that on the other side of the coin, these interactions are affecting me profoundly. These students give me life – they energize me. They help push me forward, one kilometer at a time. There is hesitancy to utter those words out loud in fear of sounding like I’m saying it for the sake of saying it. But when I’m out on the TCH, it is these students I think about and the goals we have for this project. On the 2nd day of my Master’s program, we were asked how we, as environmental educators, were going to change the world. A loaded question – but one that has stuck with me every day since. I know it’s tempting to roll your eyes or even scoff at this question – it’s been asked by one too many self-help books or motivational speakers who do anything but motivate. But I would argue it’s an important question to ask. What drives us each and every day? And maybe more importantly, what should drive us each and every day? My priorities have far too often veered off in the wrong direction. So this run across the country is my small way of joining the army of thousands who care about the well being of future generations. This is my way of trying to change the world… a world that would be a little bit healthier and a little bit happier if we just got outside a little bit more!
Yesterday was a great day off as well. Peggy Hamilton of the Mount Peyton Hotel was kind enough to give us a complimentary room for the night. I had also booked a massage to loosen up my IT band and once Heather found out what I was doing, she refused to charge me. Heather talked personally of the importance of getting outside and how it stems beyond just physical health. To these two ladies who helped us out, we say thank you!