A couple of years ago, in our valiant effort to fit in, we brought Peter to a local Boy Scout meeting. As a mother, I was enamored with the idea of boys working together to make the world a better place as dads (and moms) mentored. We lasted one meeting. I’m not sure why we failed so epically since I know so many kids that love the organization. In their neat orange and blue uniforms, the boys were excited to make wooden cars, sell pop corn and help little old ladies across the street. When we entered into the meeting hall, I could compare my son to a dog being dragged into the vets office. The brakes were on and his eyes became saucers perhaps out of fear rather than a sense of fascination. I knew then and there that I wouldn’t have an Eagle scout in my family. I left with a similar feeling that I have felt before. We had faced the same situation with baseball just a year before. It was like there was a large 500-piece puzzle to finish and my kid was a piece from a different puzzle all together. I looked at my husband and sighed. He looked un-phased. A man that rides his bike 12,000 miles a year, runs 2000 miles and keeps people alive all day in the hospital never follows anyone else’s beat. He has the strongest convictions of anyone else I know. To understand my son, I need to look no further than my own spouse. As Peter’s age, he taught himself to row, which would eventually bring him international success. He worried little about what the other kids were doing and found himself fully content riding his bicycle to middle school no matter what the weather. His idea of entertainment was lifting every rock along the Connecticut shoreline to see what was underneath. His destiny was nobody else’s but his own. So I guess it’s best if I step back and let these boys find their own way on their own terms. I know that they are fortunate to have each other because no mold seems to fit them. And while that nice little old lady crosses the street with her boy scout, they better watch out for the crazy boys barreling down the hill on their bicycles. These boys have a way of keeping life interesting.
For a couple of years now, I couldnt help but oogle over people’s Instagram pictures on Facebook. For ages, Instagram was put out there with only one thing in mind: making non-Iphone people jealous. I waited a long time for an Iphone…a really long time. I went through many stages of sadness about this. There were moments in stores where I would do anything for an Iphone to look up coupons. I have been lost countless times, where I think Siri could have helped. As for a calendar…it’s a miracle I have remembered anything for the last 5 years without it. The list of laments was huge. In the photography world, I may as well been a long-time resident of the stone ages. My husband got an iphone back in January. He’s a physician who never used a cell phone until recently. He uses his new Iphone to play Doodle Jump and send people emoticons while I was missing out. I would look at him angrily as I would use nine buttons to type out text messages. I was missing more than half the keyboard. A half hour later, people would receive my one-word texts. Yes, the world is cruel. After pulling off another Go Far race, I decided to purchase myself a gift. Go Far doesn’t make me a cent, so this felt well deserved. The excitement while walking through the mall was palpable. I had my tween with me unknowing that in just minutes, she too would hold her own phone and the key to a world of texting. As the man in the store tried to sell me every other phone in creation, finally I blurted out, “Really, I need no song and dance, just get me the Iphone!!!” He hadn’t realized how desperate I had become. The decision of white or black was a no brainer, and soon I walked out of the doors of the mall and into the new age. Behind me, my daughter was fist pumping, shrieking and doing pirouettes with her new purple bedazzled phone in her hand. Yes, life is very good. Now I can Instagram, which by the way is super freakin’ cool. I can take pictures without carrying 45 pounds of camera on my shoulder. I would gladly challenge Clint Eastwood to a quickdraw of our Iphones. We could both get a shot of each other getting the shot. My husband rolls his eyes as he qualms that I can now get every breathing moment of our lives on film. He may roll his eyes, but I have an Iphone and those hazel beauties can roll until the cows come home. I’ll be busy Instagraming them while they do.
Since I was a kid, I loved watching tv shows about how things are made. Mr Roger’s was famous for it. He would take his young viewers to all types of places where things would be fabricated. Seeing the finished product is never really enough for the curious mind. There are far too many questions to be answered. For so many of us, the ways the products we use and consume are created remain a mystery. Recently a good friend of the family, Russ Hassman invited us to his sign making company, National Sign. What I love about his product is the fact that his creations are the icing on the cake of the American dream. When his company produces a sign, it usually represents the hopes and aspirations of someone’s business venture. Like all the corporations that he makes signs for, he too once started with the humble hope for success. When seeing his employees at a company picnic, it came as no surprise as to why this American dream is being realized. His team members are truly invested in the company and in turn, he is truly invested in them. It all makes sense and as I walk through the building noticing there are clues to its success everywhere. The first and immediate observation is its open environment. There seems to be no covert mission here as ideas and action come together in a space designed for open communication. The executive’s drawing board is only an arms length away from where the finished product will come to fruition. The recipe for success is born in a team that seems to respect each other from the top down. The company picnic is in full swing as it celebrates Octoberfest. No matter that it’s June; things here seem to go by the beat of their own drum anyway. None of the employees even give a crooked stare at the head honcho attired in his party lederhosen. Another sign of the company’s the good nature. Children and friends are welcome to come inside and see bits and pieces of the creative process. It’s a photographer’s playground. Back outside, a staff member brings out his crafted Octoberfest sign and is applauded by his coworkers. The oompah music plays on and co-workers link arms. As the merriment continues, the next generation of American workers plays games. These children will continue the dream. I leave feeling enlightened and encouraged. Today I have learned never to underestimate the magic that happens in unadorned looking industrial parks all around our county. Tiki Taki Tiki Taki, Hoy Hoy Hoy!
We drove, looking for a photo that captures the sweltering heat. In this town, there are no open fire hydrants with kids running through them on a 100 degree day. Most are holed up in the cooled comfort of their air-conditioned cars or homes. So in a world of artificial cooling where does a photographer go to capture the brutal heat around Durham, CT? To the farm of course! It’s been a while since I walked the dusty barns I love. As my busy life tries to pull me away from rural splendor, something always draws me back. I walked into the huge barn hoping to see how a cow cools down around here. Sure enough, three massive turbine fans spun and water shot out as mist onto the accepting cows. The keeper wore her Wellies that barely kept her dry, She ushered in one group of ladies after another to get a turn under the fans. Everyone garnered a piece of relief. Life in a farm, although tranquil is never dull. Adjacent to the bovines having their spa treatment an entirely different story was happening. In a well-bedded pen sat a mother and newborn. The calf had come into the world only minutes before. I watched her head bob as her mother cleansed the birth from her her. The new remarkable life lifted any weight that the encumbering heat tried to render. In my busy weeks before, I had neglected to slow down and look for these little miracles that lie around each corner. This wonder became unwrapped in a canopy of heat. Despite the temperature, I left with a cooler disposition, once again realizing the good in life.
Lovin my new Iphone to capture the good stuff!
Just days before Go Far Go Fast, I walked into a restaurant in Durham. As I waited for a table, 2 children wearing their Go Far necklaces approached me and gave me a big hug. After asking them how many miles they had run this year and if they were excited about the upcoming race, it was clear to me that Go Far has become a real piece of the fabric of this town. With the growth of the program, it becomes more personal with every child we work with. I feel as if I have a responsibility in seeing this generation of children achieve their life goals, become stronger, reach higher and become good citizens. I had good teachers. I grew up in a family that shared the Olympic dream. My brother was an Olympian and while I never achieved the ultimate goal, I knew it’s journey well. To get an athlete to the Olympics, it takes an unprecedented effort on the part of the every family member and a support network like no other. There is sacrifice and a tremendous degree of dedication. While I lived this experience in my youth, it’s no different today in the way I try to direct Go Far. Call it what you will, but Go Far is designed with the utmost success in mind. There is a popular advertisement by P and G about raising Olympians. I encourage you to watch a few clips and soak in their stories. Each story isn’t about overnight success. It isn't easy. Instead, we hear of a longer road full of highs and lows. But the flame is never extinguished. After watching, think about the Go Far model and consider our task. While the children we serve may not all become Olympians, they deserve an Olympic size effort on our part. The people that mentor your child at Go Far have no guarantee of a child’s success, but they are willing to see him or her through. Because we have decided to keep this program local, each child’s success is at our fingertips. As a community, supporting and applauding our athletes are well within reach. I would personally like to thank all of those that have made this program what it is. Go Far Go Fast proved that something is working. The race may have only lasted 3 hours, but the entire year leading up to it fostered palpable energy. In it’s unique, homespun nature, GFGF showed us hope beyond measure. In every determined face, the community stood behind it and in every finisher’s smile, the community stood proud.
See the P and G clips : Raising an Olympian , Team Mom, Sean Johnson, Alexandre, Ryan, Jessica, Chris, Britta, Keri Anne, Kavita, Alicia
On behalf of all the kids, thanks to everyone who helps Go Far.
As you can see, it takes a community:
Lyman School-Paula Sanzaro Pietruszka , Lee Glidden
Brewster-Becky Finnerty, Janine Kozik
Korn School- Kim Salley
Memorial School- Kristen Kleeman. Yes, we made Go Far-X happen!
Jeremy Brown- High School Mentor to Middle schools
Thanks to all of the daily Go Far parent mentors.
Susan Viccaro and all of the District 13 principals- For their trust all along and understanding of Go Far’s vision.
School staff including teachers and support staff for all your cheerleading and help organizing.
The Durham and Middlefield Local Wellness Council: For supporting the vision from day one.
The District 13 PTA’s
Empower and CVEF, this year’s main benefactors.
Go Far Go Fast Race day:
Durham Fitness- 2012’s Go Far Go Fast Title Sponsor
The Durham Fair Association - for the best venue ever! (Special thanks to Deb Waz and Tom)
Toby Bates and the Boy Scouts for parking.
Sandie Dalles for her invaluable assistance with age-grouping.
The Durham Woman’s Club- for purchasing food and distributing.
The Durham EMS for tending to race battle wounds.
Hans Pederson for helping announce and keeping us rocking out.
Michael Hayes of Patch for your big efforts in getting the word out.
Heather Castiglia for an amazing T-shirt design!
Coginchaug Little league and Soccer for re-arranging their schedules.
To Michael Meurs for finding Abby Cannon to lend her beautiful voice for the National Anthem.
To the brilliant Hassman family for fabricating 84 of the coolest trophies ever!
Robyn Reynolds, Marc Scianna, Alex Edwards, Jen Holland, Rocky of the Rock Cats, Roger Kleeman, Chris Schulten, Laura Francis, Jon Brayshaw, and Lavinia Vigue.
The many parent volunteers, who helped set-up, do registration and breakdown the event. (too many to name)
…and the following sponsors: Country Flower Farms, National Sign, Glazer Dental, The Iron Scissors, Indian Springs, X-Pect Discounts,Ludwig Motors, Lee Manufacturing, Perk On Main, Comprehensive Orthopaedics, Dzialo, Pickett and Allen, Arrigoni and Johnson Oil, Core Club, Dean Autoworks, Durham Pharmacy, Nancy Ferraro Marriage and Family Counseling, Jennifer Schulten Photography (hey that’s me!), Larkin’s Run, Lino’s, Stafford Marine Services, TD Bank, Zadi and Rigali Orthodontics, Lyman Orchard, Carmine's Pizza, VMB Custom Home Builders, Ken Jay Landscaping and Fine Work Home Improvement
I hope I didnt forget anyone. If I did accept our appreciation.
Becky, Kim, Janine and Sandie...without you, this race wouldn't have been possible...Thanks!
To see more pics, visit: gallery 1,