Like so many others, this time of year I make a point to reflect upon the year that was. The Cycle Forward motto is “forward motion through trails and cycling,” and I’m happy to say there’s been much forward motion here at CF. I started kicking around the idea of CF in 2012. My original concept was using trails as a venue for team building with a focus on facilitating trail-related philanthropic opportunities for corporate teams (bike giveaways, trail clean ups, etc.).
After turning this concept over and over, I came around to two realizations: 1) When it comes to working with folks on professional development and purpose, I prefer to work with individuals than with teams, and 2) I could incorporate my place-making and trails and tourism background into my business.
Enter 2013. I filed the business name and built the website and the rest is history. Highlights of the year:
* Traveling to Nova Scotia to deliver my first keynote address. I spoke at a trails workshop hosted by the Atlantic Canada Trails Association. I’d met some of the same players when they visited the Great Allegheny Passage in 2011, and couldn’t have been happier to visit them on their turf.
* Helping to plan the International Trails Symposium, held in Arizona in April (a lovely time of year to be in the desert). The highlight here was co-chairing a scholarship program that brought 18 young professionals to the conference in an effort to engage Millennials in trails and conservation. The sunrise hikes at Saguaro Lake Ranch were a close second if I’m honestly sharing the highlights.
* Closer to home, I started working with Pennsylvania Environmental Council on a multi-state regional trail effort with the intent of getting more long-distance trails completed and connected. This is a project that I was involved in back when I managed the Trail Town Program. It’s great to be back in the mix working on a project that will impact local quality of life as well as the regional economy.
* Working toward my coaching certification at Duquesne University’s School of Leadership and Professional Development. Anyone who’s known me for a while knows that one of most rewarding parts of working at this funky intersection of community development, trails, and tourism has been helping others to realize their potential. This brings me to coaching. My hope is to eventually take coaching clients onto trails for nature-based sessions. I have just three months left to my program and can say the first four months have been nothing short of transformational. I really look forward to this next phase of Cycle Forward. I’ve been on two parallel paths and soon the two shall meet.
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