Yeah for PE Programs! Day 5, Madras to Ochoco Lake

Today was a shorter day since I left my friend/colleague's home at 9:30 and stopped at her school to visit her students. Since I'm raising $25,000 for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG), I envisioned stopping at AHG schools when I could, knowing that summer is here. Oregon isn't out of school yet so visiting Metolius Elementary School which is an AHG school provided a great opportunity. Lola teaches K-5 PE full time and for those that aren't aware... This is truly a commitment on the part of her school district. Elementary PE teachers are being cut all over this country in response to demands placed on administrators around certain accountability measures... Including test scores in reading, writing and math, attendance and behavior metrics (referrals, suspensions, expulsions). A lot of the work I do nationally is around health and physical education, programs disappearing as a result of federal mandates and ridiculous educational expectations. When I taught 7th grade health, I had students who came to school hungry, homeless, even pregnant and I was supposed to raise their reading scores? Really? Ok, not all students have basic survival need issues (although, sadly, many do) but they may be dealing with parents going through a divorce or maybe the students themselves are being bullied... all these things affect learning. We need more student support programs & quality health education programs (which have changed since we were students), that focus on skills like communication, advocacy, analyzing influences, decision making, goal setting, accessing valid/reliable information and self management. Quality health education is NOT reading chapter 11 in a book on suicide prevention and answering 4 questions at the end of the chapter. It's being able to determine where to get suicide support for yourself or someone you know in your community. Which bus to take (if applicable) and what hours the office may be open. Or what the hotline number may be.
Ok, enough about work...
Weather was hot and it's amazing how my major decisions during a day go back to food, water and shelter. Will I have enough water to last until the next town (preparation needed)? Where do I want to stay tonight? Do I have options? I'm hungry again? How can that be? Oh! I've burned 2300 calories and it's 11am. Many wind turbine parts passed me today and I'm not sure why, but seeing the arm of a wind turbine on a huge truck is somewhat eerie. They are such massive man-made constructed items. Something about seeing a part of this huge structure is both scary, yet impressive.
I spent a ton of time in Prineville today. I met up with two guys on summer break from Fletcher School at Tufts. They decided to bike from the Oregon coast back to Boston. The three of us had lunch at a yummy cafe (I was craving a huge salad!), and we said our goodbyes... I was going to hang a little longer in Prineville and they are on a fast 7 week trip across the US. I got a milkshake, wrote some thank you notes for donations that have come in and at the post office, I met Joe who told me, "There are two types of people in this world. Those that are chicken shit and those that have balls. I think I know what type you are." It was awesome and hilarious. I got him on voice memo repeating it, but unfortunately when repeated, he was much more PC in his response. "No one is gonna mess with ya. Two kinds of us in life, those that sit down and let the world go by and then there are very few of us that accept a challenge and go forward and never look behind. Seize the day. Now, I gotta give you a hug baby." Joe turns 80 next month. When he started chatting with me, I thought... I have to get on the road. I'm hot, tired and want to get to camp. And then I remember what my brother wrote me before I left, "Its the journey, not the destination." So I listened and talked and I'm proud of myself for giving Joe 20 minutes of my time today. He's one of the many amazing Americans I will continue to meet along this journey.

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