Short Days, Long Nights (A Fall Retrospective)

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November, 2005

Ahhhh, fallen leaves. Good for thank you cards (when dried), jumping in (when raked), and dragging along with your foot up against the sidewalk (when you’re a bit younger, and don’t feel the pressing weight of Time). Sombre? Perhaps. But maybe that’s because with the completion of all our bike tours, it’s like a tablecloth of optimism, hope and inspiration has been swiftly removed from under our feet. But the message lives on, and so it is with bittersweet emotion that we turn to the final check-ins from Coast2Coast and the BC Tour.

C2C was super excited when September came because it meant that schools were back in session, and they could hit up the Maritimes in fine style. It also meant that they had reached the last portion of their journey. Soon enough, after braving rocky mountains, floods, transport truck convoys, and the ups and downs of 6 months of intense group living, C2C arrived at their final destination. A place that brings up feelings of tearful joy and celebration for more than one group of hopeful hooligans. A place called Corner Brook, Newfoundland. After a few wonderful days of cooking, playing games, and enjoying their last time together, the C2C Team said goodbye. They send out many thanks to all the incredible people across the country that made this tour possible!!

And BCT? After months of preparation and anticipation (which included trying on spandex and drooling over pictures of places along the tour's route), the tour became a reality. On September 1st, 19 BCT members came together to pedal over mountains and through valleys Otesha-fying schools and communities along the way. The tour culminated in the Otesha Jam, which brought together 18 youth from across BC for 2 days of workshops and wonderfulness at O.U.R. Ecovillage. While BCT may have finished biking, their energy and passion has been passed on to the kids who came to the Jam – the best legacy ever!

The final bike tour event is planned for late November when representatives from all tours will convene in Ottawa for 4 days to revel in the accomplishments of the tours, and to plan for the future of the On Two Wheels program.

Oh, but don’t fear, folks, even without bike tours there’s still lots of exciting stuff to report. Example? Our computers are networked, we have a new contacts database, and our website now features an online book order form. We are greatly indebted to hemp-necklace maker, cyclist extraordinaire and tekkie (techie?) Mark Leigh - and the help he got from Sofian and Izaak. These incredible, time-saving advances were greeted around the Manor of Marvelous Mayhem with such comments as: “Wow… I never knew computer programming could be so beautiful.” Computers 1; Central Staff 0.

And ranking just behind our newfound computer savvyness on the fall excitement scale: 

  1. The first Highly Intensive Training Weekend (HITW) of this year is happening for the Hopeful High school Hooligan (Triple-H) program from November 11th to 13th. Our sheer excitement yielded a new part-time staff member for the winter months: Ben Finkelberg – Triple-H chef, and all around admin helper.
  2. The teacher insert (a.k.a. the teacher’s menu) for the Otesha Book, written by Ed and designed by Kevin of LOKi Design, is set for completion this month. Let us know if you’re interested in acquiring this resource that’s chock full of lesson plan goodies!

One reason for this fall burst of activity (other than computer-based efficiency gains) is that Jess, Joss, and Jeff are finally within the same area code again – nay, within the same 5 square meters. Joss and Ed returned from their “oh, we’re just going to bike from Vancouver to Tijiuana” honeymoon, and Jess is back from her six week jaunt, which brought her out to the BC tour as well as overseas. She was in England and Finland to receive Otesha’s award from the International Youth Foundation, to make connections with youth organizations from around the world, and to take part in the launch of IYF’s book Our Time is Now. This book, which includes a chapter on Otesha, is responsible for Joss’s upcoming absence – as she’ll be heading to four American cities with IYF on a book tour. Some think this international attention has to do with Otesha’s inspirational vibes. But we’ve got a different take on Joss’s future trip: Joss, are you afraid that the computers are taking over?

And two susty (sustainability) bits before we go:

Ribbit. This fine Manor has logged and switched its power source to wind energy and low impact hydro. If you’re an Ontario resident, check this out!

Yum. Though we’re a bit late on this one, we wanted to let everyone know that it’s possible to celebrate Halloween without contributing to the many, many problems associated with the sugar and chocolate industries. Cocoa Camino ( sells bite size fair-trade, organic chocolates! Cheers to social and green justice!

Postcard of the month:

“I biked across Canada with the Coast2Coast tour. We presented to over 10,000 youth. Woohoo! I take staggered showers, and I eat fair trade chocolate. I love Otesha.” – Nick Townley, 23