It took a village to dream up, organize and execute a relay event in Lake Country, but the crew involved wouldn’t have it any other way.
The first-annual Loop-the-Lake event on Sept. 19 saw approximately 25 participants from CONNECT Communities walk, bike, wheel and kayak around Wood Lake in Lake Country. Many more people who didn’t physically participate in the event contributed to its success through budgeting, planning, and baking for the post-event barbecue.
One of the people supported by CONNECT made a baton, which was passed, relay-style, as they covered the 17.6 km of terrain. Some smokey skies in the morning and light rain during the event only added to the atmosphere.
Karin Schmidt, Independence Coach, says the event was a success on many levels.
“This event really flattened the power differential that can exist when we are supporting the people living at CONNECT,” says Karin. “This event empowered the people supported by CONNECT to work on a detailed level of planning, organization and skill and to do it successfully as a team.
“This event empowered the people supported by CONNECT to work on a detailed level of planning, organization and skill and to do it successfully as a team.”
She said one of the individuals supported by CONNECT even biked to City Hall to secure the permit and explained to the people working there all about Loop-the-Lake.
Beyond the permit, the team handled countless logistics, like clearing the appointment schedule the day of the relay, making sure vehicles were available, covering all of the checkpoints, and making sure everyone was where they needed to be.
Hope, one of the event organizers, who currently lives at CONNECT, says felt empowered and proud of her time helping plan the Loop-the-Lake event and can hardly wait for next year.
“I think we learned a lot about things we will do a little differently next time,” says Hope. “I have some ideas about how to design the T-shirts differently next time.”
Hope recalls the moment when she and three other organizers, who live at CONNECT, crossed the finish line together.
“I saw all of those people at the end of the course and it freaked me out a bit, but we crossed the finish line and it felt good.”
Karin and Hope recall the fun of Loop the Lake.
The idea for Loop-the-Lake came to Karin while commuting to work one morning. She commutes on her bicycle and is passionate about the environment and enjoying the beauty of the Okanagan.
She said the idea started to take legs when she realized the people supported by CONNECT were excited about helping make it possible.
Last winter during February and March, CONNECT had a Loop-the-Lake primer where houses competed by tracking activity and earning points. This friendly competition encouraged everyone to stay healthy and work towards a goal during those colder, darker months.
Karin says she’d love to see other CONNECT locations organize similar events with their help of the people they support.
For next year, Karin and Hope are hoping to make the event into a fundraiser and involve CRIS Adaptive on a greater level. They will likely open the event to more participants, but want to manage the numbers so it doesn’t get too big.
“Everyone involved helped this dream come true,” says Karin. “It showed us that if you work together within your ability, little bits come together to make big things happen.”