Monday, April 25, 2011

Take Me Outside Visits Halifax

 There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand."
                                                               -posted on the Take Me Outside website by Colin Harris

colin speaks at Armbrae Academy

When I first met Colin Harris, on the tiny shoulder of the TransCanada Highway, I knew that he was someone that could influence change in people.

I wrote about Colin and Take Me Outside after an amazing day of running and visiting with Colin on his trek towards Halifax {read about it here} in March.  I was fortunate to meet with him again when he spent a busy week in Halifax, visiting schools, and finishing with a talk at Armbrae Academy.

From my very first exposure to Take Me Outside, I have been motivated and inspired by its message and Colin's steadfast determination to bring awareness to the benefits of spending more time outside.

When Rob Chambers first asked me to get involved with brainstorming about how to support Take Me Outside, we had lots of ideas.  I am always looking for ways to give the greatest impact, even with limited resources.  I had a mentor say to me many years ago, "surround yourself with those that have talents, expertise and ideas in things you don't....then you can create something truly spectacular."  So when we started to plan for Colin's visit to Halifax I knew that with the help of others we could give Colin {and Sarah, his amazing partner in this project} a special welcome...with a few extra amenities.

We knew that Colin, Sarah, and their two dogs were living exclusively in the RV, and might appreciate a little break from it, with a hotel stay.  I approached my friend Andrea, and before I could even complete my sentence she was nodding "YES!" to my ask for help with donated hotel rooms at The Courtyard Marriott.  She made all the arrangements, including 2 rooms, a special entrance for the dogs, and 2 nights of warmth and extra comfort.  

Colin often runs over 40 km per day, and we had been reading on his website that he was having some reoccurring problems with his IT-bands.  With Andrea's help again, Colin received 2 massages by Nathan {my massage therapist as well, and an incredible guy} at Spirit Spa.  

Since Colin would be arriving in Halifax while I was away on vacation during our second week of March break, I decided to put together a little hospitality welcome package.  Rob and I came up with the idea of a Time Capsule, one that Colin could take with him on his journey, that would remind him along the way that he had support.  Each envelope in the time capsule has instructions for when it can be opened and what to do with the contents.  So far I know that Colin has been able to open two of the envelopes...and hopefully, very soon, the one marked "open at the first sign of summer" will be opened too!
When we ran with Colin on the TCH he made a joke about his running pants being on their last I secured a gift card to Mountain Equipment Coop and included that in the welcome package.  

I know that Colin had a hard time accepting all the extras....but I know he appreciated it and it felt amazing to be able to show him that we all support him.

On his last day in Halifax, Colin visited Armbrae Academy and spoke to the Junior school, grades P-6.  He talked about what it means to get outside, why its so important to connect with nature and he even gave them a little idea about how far he runs each day.  He engaged a few younger students in a fun race down the length of the gym and back and explained how many times he would do that same run in a day.  

After some wonderful question and answer time in the gym everyone went outside for an extended recess and Colin got asked to participate in a game of tag!  Students also took him into the woods and showed him the special features of their hidden forest....proving that the outdoors keeps their imaginations and creativity alive.

I had the privilege of standing in the schoolyard and just observing.....the children at play, laughing, running, smiling, exploring....and feeling very lucky that I had met Colin.  We all need reminders that in today's ever changing technological world, getting outside is more important than ever. 

jennifer, colin, rob

Although it was a month since Colin was in Halifax, we have not stopped following his campaign and his progress.   On April 12th, Colin crossed the border into Quebec, another province closer to getting across Canada.  He has had to take a little break from the TCH, the police in Quebec have pulled him over a few times to let him know there is no running on the TCH in Quebec!  But he is not giving up!  

Continue to follow Colin's journey here

A special thank you once again to Jen Partridge for capturing the details of Colin's visit to Armbrae, but mostly for believing in Forty 4 Change...and giving of herself so freely.

Colin recently wrote about the need for face to face communication with people we care about, getting the kind of interaction you just cannot get with technology.  Seeing someone smile in person.....surely feels better than seeing a tiny smiley face come across the screen. :)

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