GO Play. GO Move. GO Outside - How We Really Feel

GO Play. GO Move. GO Outside.

These are three short, simple statements, but holy smokes do they get us fired up when we start talking about them...fired up AKA pumped, excited... Because when you dig into what they actually represent you’ll understand why they are our philosophies/values/why we do what we do… they’ll help you understand what GO is all about and some of the “behind the scene” things we build our business off of...  You will find the statements below on our website, but in case you missed it:

Now we had to reign in our emotions ...or at least be a little business formal…  about these statements on our homepage in order to concisely explain our values. But luckily for us we also have a handy dandy platform (ahem, this blog) where we can let ALL of our emotions fly. Thus, the following post is titled GO Play, GO Move, GO Outside – how we really feel!

Warning: The following material may come off as rant-ish, but quite frankly that’s because it is one.

GO Play - Everyone needs to play more. And we mean everyone. You are never too young, too old, too mature, or too sophisticated to play… We both strongly believe in play and that every age needs to play. Just yesterday I was talking to a parent who coaches one of their children's teams and they said to me “My favourite part about coaching is when I get to play the games with the kids, it gets them playing even more and I love how I feel after” Let yourself play, even if it’s just 15 minutes, next time your kids ask you to play, say yes and then see how you feel….

Don’t believe us, check out our Twitter account and you’ll find lots of articles and evidence backing this.

Regardless of this evidence we still seem to say that our lives are too busy to play (are you guilty of this?). As Richard Louv puts it “we seem to be more productive, but less inventive; we value structured time but in turn kill any free dreamtime”. Play is that unstructured, free, dream time where we can do what we feel like at that instant with no right or wrong way to do it. That’s a hugely important element in a balanced life, or we think so at least.

Play also allows us to discover our surroundings on a personal level through ALL five of our senses. All we seem to do these days is explore our world through audiovisual stimulation. That’s only two senses we’re triggering. If someone gave you a massage with only two of five fingers, it wouldn’t be as good, right? Well, it’s the same when you experience something with only two of five senses…. Don’t get us wrong, we do love a good movie night, or time on social media and there’s definitely days we spend 4-6 hours in front of the computer doing work, but it’s not the ONLY way to entertain yourself and boy do you feel way better if at some point in the day you take time to play. Like I said earlier, JUST 15 minutes can change your day...

So at GO Adventure Co. we make sure that we make time to play. And if you’re not with us to do that, we still want you to GO Play. Go outside and wander into beautiful sceneries. Pick up an instrument and try to play it. Find a hill and roll down it. Play catch. Build a fort and make up an imaginary world. Think of these things as just as important in your everyday routine as brushing your teeth or eating healthy meals – because ultimately all three are benefiting your well-being.

One final thought on play – if you don’t think you know how to do it, watch a group of kids playing in an unstructured environment…. YOU CAN DO IT, you just have to let yourself use your imagination and TRY. Over time our imagination and creativity get lost because we stop using it but start now, dust off the cobwebs and PLAY….  

 

GO Move - Everyone needs to move more. We are way too sedentary as a population in general. We sit all of the time! And it’s killing us…. Why do you think they invented a fitbit? To make people aware of how little they move each day...

If you don’t believe us, check out our blog on Doctor’s Orders. An overwhelming amount of illnesses could be prevented if we just took a second to move more each day…. It’s easy to move more, take the stairs, park further from the door, bike to work, shovel the snow. Daily tasks that we have made easier through technology are great inventions but using them all the time is slowly killing us...  

Also, we are losing our ability to move in all of the different ways that our body is capable of. This is why we value physical literacy so much. The same way that it is important to develop the building blocks of reading or math in order to be literate in those subjects, it is also important to develop basic fundamental movement skills (run, jump, skip, roll, gallop, etc) which become the basis of all other activities you’ll ever do. There’s a great video explaining the importance of physical literacy on our Facebook page.

Our bodies were made to move. That’s why we automatically feel so much better once we have added movement to our day. Something as simple as a walk or intense as a triathlon training session makes our bodies work, and they like that. But the hard thing is that there are two different types of feedback loops that you can get stuck in. Maybe this sounds familiar:

Haven’t done anything active for awhile, body feels slumpy and gross, would way rather sit than move, which makes your body feel worse, which makes it less appealing to move at all, so you sit some more….thus creating the negative loop.

But the other loop is a positive one: You go for a bike ride, and your body and mind feel great so you’re motivated to go for a walk the next day, which makes you feel fantastic, so you decide to try a hike, and you love it…..and the loop continues. . . . GO TRY IT!

We get that it’s sometimes hard to know what to do to GO Move, but the options are endless and we’ve made it our job at GO to give you opportunities to experience a variety of fun ways to move.

GO Outside - Everyone needs to be outside more. It is our natural environment; it is who we are; it is what we are made of. Nature makes us happier, healthier, more relaxed, more focused, more creative, and more connected. We should live everyday in radical amazement by nature and appreciate the freedom that we have to enjoy all of its benefits.

We love, love, love the outdoors. It’s the best. There’s actually nothing like it. Go spend some time outside in a bad mood and tell us if you don’t feel better after. It does scare us that there is becoming less natural, untouched, outdoor space to go be in. That’s why it is our mission to get everyone to love outside the way we do. Because what do you do to things that you love? You protect it! . . . even if you don’t want to move while you’re outside, having your morning coffee on the deck can really change the way your day goes because coffee and vitamin N is definitely the best combo EVER! Just ask our GO Littles parents :)

We get that the outdoors can seem scary, but it’s really not that bad once you have some experience in it. You don’t have to be out in the extreme remote wilderness to be in the outdoors. There are amazing parks, trails, forests, streams, fields, and ponds all around, but it takes a little bit of intentional exploring to find them… another great thing you can do is walk on your lawn in your bare feet. When was the last time you actually TOUCHED nature?

If you don’t want to intentionally explore, that’s ok too. Let us show you some of our favourite outdoor places to GO (one is our headquarters - it’s wild enough to let your imaginations soar and safe enough to keep your worries at home).

So there you have it. That’s how we really feel.

If you are one of the individuals who has read this far, it’s safe to say that you can tell we’re passionate about what we do. We work hard to incorporate all three of these philosophies into anything we do, because ultimately we want to build a huge community of GO-ers who love to GO Play, GO Move and GO Outside as much as we do!

 

 

 

 

Puppy Vs Child: A Metaphor

I love metaphors. It's one of my favourite ways to explain things to people because you can take a concept that might be new or abstract and explain it in a way that makes sense.
 

I also love metaphors, i think I'll  really like this post.


One day this winter when I was out for a snowshoe with our two camp dogs, Jake and JJ (which stands for Jake Jr....our GO-ers helped name him...yes, it's a ridiculous name but it's perfect for him. He is so similar to Jake it’s creepy...) a metaphor came to mind comparing JJ to a child, and I wanted to share it because it directly relates to our philosophies here at GO.

JJ is a lab/shepherd mix, so inherently he has a lot of energy.  We love him to pieces because he is great with all of our GO-ers and has a playful personality. He isn't even a year old yet, but he acts as if he has been a camp dog forever….Technically he has been a camp dog forever, just a very short forever :), his forever...   Unfortunately there is a place where JJ isn't quite an angel though - when he is in the garage…. He turns into a MONSTER.


Jake and JJ are outdoor dogs with full access to the garage to sleep, eat, and get out of the weather. They always have the option to go outside, but as a rule of thumb they usually don't unless someone is out there with them (like me going for a snowshoe or when we have a group of GO-ers). On the days where they stay in the garage it is always a guessing game what the garage will look like when we walk into it. We have seen everything from brown bedding fluff everywhere to garbage bags being destroyed and strewn all over the place to lobster tails being eaten whole to shoes getting completely chewed up... And most recently he's started to play “hide and seek” with many things like mittens and hats…. Needless to say there is always a mess to clean up, and whoever it is that has to clean it up, is never thrilled with JJ.


I'll have to admit there was about a month where I thought JJ was a terrible dog. He wasn't getting the message to leave things alone, even though we had tried multiple training techniques, he was always getting into something new and wrecking it, and it felt like he was more of a pain to have around than a pleasure.

This is how I was feeling about him the day I went snowshoeing. I was not impressed. But as we were out walking through the woods I would watch JJ. He would take off running, leaping and bounding in front of me, check something out, and then always come back to check in. His tail was constantly wagging and you could tell he was happy. He is amazingly fast and agile and he would demonstrate that as he chased after Jake or leaped over trees to come walk with me. He didn't wreck anything, he was never in the way, he was so entertaining and I really enjoyed his company. I was sitting on a fallen down tree watching him when he came over, tail wagging, tongue out and laid his head right on my lap. We just sat there, totally satisfied to sit in the sun, calm, relaxed and happy. I was no longer annoyed of him.

That's when my mind started comparing JJ to a child.

I have worked in enough schools to know that there are classes filled with JJs. When they are in the "garage" (confined to a seat, room, building) they are a huge pain. They make a mess, they don't listen, they disrupt normal procedures, and they get on the nerves of the people responsible for them. Everyone tries everything to make them listen, to make them a "good" kid, but in that setting they are the furthest thing from it.

I have also been fortunate enough to watch those same kids completely transform once they are outside. Just like JJ they become a joy to be around. Their energy, excitement, adventurous spirit and creativity are no longer a pain to try and contain and control, but instead are set free to be inspired and grow... They love exploring, asking questions and absorb so much when they are outdoors playing with us. It’s amazing to see first hand those energy filled kids, focus and learn.

JJ is not meant for the garage the same way kids (or anyone for that matter) are not meant to be contained all of the time. The "garage" is necessary for certain things, however if JJ spent his whole life in there, he would always be considered a terrible puppy.... Our world is huge and it’s our world, let’s explore it!

It is necessary at some points to be inside, but we are all naturally wired to be outdoors. That's why we love what we do at GO Adventure Co. We get to accompany people as they learn to love playing and moving outdoors... That’s not all they’re learning...they’re learning new skills and teamwork and discovering so much about themselves. And on top of that we are also teaching them things about the environment and the creatures that share the world with us.

 

We get to encourage them to do things they naturally want to do (like run, jump, climb, hang, be loud, be quiet, be alone, explore, build, etc) in an environment that allows them to do so.  And just like I did with JJ, we get to be there as they experience what it feels like to be viewed as a "good dog" instead of getting in trouble for being a bad one…. Smiles, “you rock”s and positive encouragement go a long way in helping those “bad dogs” be good too.

The last piece to this metaphor that I wanted to add was how JJ acts in the garage after he has spent time outside. He is fantastic and he uses it how we hope he would. He eats. He drinks water. He sleeps. Not only does being active outside let him do all the things he loves doing, it also helps him be successful at being in the garage as well….  SO next time the kids are acting like a “bad dog” take them on an adventure outside!
 

Ontario Winters Be Like...

Winter and I have spent a lot of time together. Whether it was growing up in the Yukon, living in Alberta, exploring in Alaska, or spending time in BC, I can say that I have experienced a lot of different types of winter... I too have experienced a lot of different winters and because of past conversations with Janna I know exactly where this blog post is going. Ontario winters you are WILD!

It always baffles me how vastly different everyone’s winter experiences in Canada are...Canada is a VERY large place but knowing people from all across the country really makes you understand just how different it really is...  For some it means more rain, others more darkness, and some it means that snow is finally coming back allowing them to participate in their favourite outdoor pastimes.

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From my experiences, I have learned there are some things that are unanimous across the country when it comes to winter. Winter tires are a must (not those silly all-seasons), dressing for the weather can make or break an outdoor experience, the tingly,burning sensation of your cheeks when you come in from the cold is surprisingly satisfying and there is an irreplaceable beauty in a sunny day after a fresh snowfall. ... fresh snow is truly beautiful and I can’t help but stop, admire and then snap a photo.

Other common things include: mood swings, a major dislike for shovelling ...unless you’re ME. I find shovelling relaxing/soothing/satisfying... , unpredictable road conditions...This I’ll agree with... and continuously cold extremities.

This is my first winter in Ontario and when I tell people where I am from they’re usually curious about what the comparison is between a Yukon winter and an Ontario winter. Despite being told that this has been an extremely abnormal Ontario winter, I have still been able to find quite a few differences between the two.

So here’s my quick rundown of a Yukoners perspective on Ontario winters:

  • There’s a lot of moisture here - coming from all the bazillion lakes and rivers around I guess. This makes two things happen: a) snow is sticky thus being extremely heavy to shovel but awesome for building snowmen and snow forts (a luxury I never had growing up) and b) cold weather feels really cold even when the thermometer feels like it’s not that cold. AKA -10°C is a lot different here... It really is a bone chilling cold, I can agree spending winters in Alberta the cold here is a whole different cold...

  • Snow does not fall down, it falls sideways - there have been a lot of days where I have watched the snow “fall” horizontally because of the wind. It falls sideways until it hits something, and then it drifts.

  • Snow drifts are a major driving hazard - I have never experienced driving along on a bare road only to all of a sudden be floorboard deep in a snow drift. It is an art form being able to navigate going through those things effectively and safely.

  • There are snow days here - I have never experienced a snow day in my life. Since being here I have experienced at least 6 days where the buses did not run thus making it a “snow day”. I suppose that is because it is cold in the Yukon but doesn’t necessarily snow a ton, and definitely not all in one day... I was blown away when I moved west and talked about snow days and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Snow days are some of the best memories from my childhood...

  • The weather is bipolar - no snow, tons of snow, rain, freezing rain, tons of snow, warm spring weather, freezing rain, and a snow squall warning. That was last week. What?!? I am used to consistency. It gets cold and snows at the end of October and stays that way until May. None of this up and down, what season are we in, crazy amounts of snow, no wait it’s raining, buried in a snowdrift kind of stuff. Phew. I can’t keep up... It’s not always like this but it’s never as consistent as you get in the west...


Despite all of the differences, I am learning that a beautiful sunny, snowy, brisk day is still the best kind of day in the winter, regardless of what part of the country I am in ... 100%! sun and snow combined together are the greatest days, perfect days for outdoor winter play...

#Don'tSkipOut on Your Health

I was on Twitter this morning (that’s right we have an account..you can follow us at @GO_AdventureCo) and I saw that the Physical Activity Resource Centre (@parcontario) had posted a cool tweet. It said:

“From pilates to pickleball, we want to help you promote #physicalactivity with the #DontSkipOut toolkit http://bit.ly/1nirL7m “

Of course this caught my attention, so I followed the link to find out more about the resource. Basically it is a campaign they are doing trying to promote adults to stay physically active by telling them that it’s important they “don’t skip out” on being active and “don’t skip out” on their health.

One of the ads in their campaign looks like this:

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I love the concept! Because I definitely agree. Whether we are too tired, too busy, too sick, it’s too late, or we’re too cold, we will always brush our teeth (well, I do at least).

Why?

Because our dentists have told us since we were little kids that if we want to have HEALTHY teeth, then we better brush and floss REGULARLY. And we know it is true because we know how nasty our mouth feels after skipping one day of not brushing.

Now, some of you may know where I am going with this, but I will continue on with my connection.

How many times have we said or heard: I am too tired, too busy, too sick, or it’s too late and too cold to.... exercise? It happens quite often. But this is what I do not understand. We will go out of our way to make sure we brush our teeth regularly because we are told it is important for our health, but we need convincing, poking, prodding and sometimes bribing in order to be active regularly even though we are told it is crucial for our health!

There’s a few big things I want to make sure I address from that statement:

  1. Although the poster says “too busy to exercise?”, realistically health benefits come when we are physically active too. The health benefits of being physically active regularly are endless. You can read more about that in our earlier blog post “Doctor’s Orders”.

  2. Being physically active does NOT equal having to do exercise. This is such a common misconception for a lot of people and I think it is a very big barrier for people to become physically active. One of our biggest goals at GO Adventure Co. is to be a place where we can be active, move and play outdoors, without it feeling like exercise. Remember: exercise is physical activity but exercise is NOT the only way to be physically active.

  3. Touching on the point above, there is a vicious cycle where people think “I hate exercising” (thinking of the gym, boot camps, work outs, cardio activities, etc) leading them to not do any activity at all, making them feel worse, leading them to continue to not do anything! In my mind this is the equivalent of not brushing your teeth because you don’t want to use mouth wash. Sounds ridiculous right? Especially because you know how gross your mouth feels when you don’t brush. Now take that image of grossness and imagine how your body feels when you decide not to be active, not to move, for a long period of time. At GO we are passionate about breaking that vicious cycle and showing people how FUN it is to be active.

  4. So many things are considered physical activity. Here is a quick list of General Physical Activities you can choose from, taken from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I will make sure none of them say “boot camp” or “running” *Coincidence Alert: these look a lot like the activities we do during our GO Programs.

  • walking, biking, dancing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating, rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, swimming, tag, soccer, kickball, volleyball, frisbee, cross country skiing, hockey, paddle boating, playing on a jungle gym….

My final thought on all of this is: imagine what it would do to our world, if we enforced and promoted being physically active every single day, the same way we enforced and promoted brushing our teeth.


...Wow, I dropped the ball on that one. I didn't have one comment to add while reading this post. I think that's because I had no idea what Janna had written about and it really caught my attention and I was intrigued on what was going to be said next. I love this concept/ way of looking at physical activity, hats off to PARC for creating this campaign and to you Janna for helping spread the word through this Blog! So readers don't neglect your body, be active make it a priority like you do your teeth, your morning coffee or your social media daily catch ups!