Day 9 – 31.6 km (total – 226.6 km)


Speaking at Clarenville Middle School


Last night, we got that phone call we had been anticipating for a couple of months.  Aviva called to say we were not one of the projects that would receive funding.  To be honest, both Sarah and I felt it most deeply because of all the time and effort that all of our friends had given to get us to the finals.  There was a sense that the last couple of months was a collective effort and through the emails we’ve received today, it was a shared disappointment with the news that came.  In a way, it was comforting to share that disappointment with friends who were thousands of kilometers away.

But this morning, we went in to Clarenville Middle School and had a great visit with 400 students – grades 4-9.  I gave a brief chat, and the phys ed teacher, Mr. Randell, presented us with a cheque as a donation towards our project!  We began to see how committed this school was to having their students be active, led by their principal Craig Pardy. Each student gets half an hour of activity a day – one of the only schools in the province to do this!  They also bring in a trainer (Ryan Power) to work with students on a rotation within the schedule.  Granted it’s optional, but 75% of the students are participating on their own accord – amazing!

Clarenville is one of those cities that an outdoor enthusiast would crave to live in.  They have a ski hill 2 km outside of the city, along with extensive cross-country ski trails.  They have an extensive network of biking and hiking trails and the views of the ocean are breathtaking.  And again, you’re dealing with some of the friendliest people in the world!  It is overwhelming to feel the warmth of individuals, even though we’re just “passing through”.  Because of the nature of this project and the timeframe that we have, we are somewhat limited to the area immediately surrounding the Trans Canada Highway.  But there is no doubt there will be many trips back to this island to explore off the beaten path – there is such a rich history here.  Between the landscape and the people who inhabit it, I can’t help but feel “at home” in this province.

And so, the news of Aviva quickly fades as we look forward and see all the opportunities that lie ahead.  There are many more amazing people to meet and our message to get children and youth outside will continue – fueled by friends and family who care enough to help us take this message across the country.


The Ode!

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