In 2007, I was co-organizing the World Record Walk event for Canada Walks and re-connected with Barb Gormley, who I had met at a number of fitness leadership events in the 80’s. She told me she was a Nordic walking instructor and I asked her what that was. It piqued my interest! The next year, when I was putting together a grant application for Canada Walks, to be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, I thought it would improve our chances of getting our project to improve the walkability of communities funded, if we included a new, relatively unknown to Ontario activity like Urban Poling. The project, called OWN (Ontarians Walking Now) was funded and through it, we delivered workshops across Ontario attended by many public health and municipal staff. It was a huge success! I decided I should personally know a bit more about Urban Poling, so in the spring of 2008, I travelled to Ottawa to take the instructor course delivered by Barb. With my degree in physical education, the minute I tried it, I was hooked, realizing all the wonderful benefits it had to offer people of all ages and abilities.
When we moved to Alberta in the fall of 2012, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to be the Alberta ambassador. This involved training instructors, promoting Urban Poling by giving presentations and demos at conferences, workshops, meetings and community events and supporting retailers. It is been a marvelous experience, promoting my “passion for poling”, meeting so many wonderful people & visiting communities across Alberta. What has been most rewarding for me is making many new friends, seeing the network of instructors expand from a handful to well over two hundred, seeing Urban Poling grow in countless communities large and small and most of all seeing the life-changing difference Urban Poling has had in the lives of many individuals. I still get such a thrill when I randomly come across people walking and hiking with Urban Poles (pic below) and I am proud to say, that is happening more and more often, sometimes more than once in a day! It has been a privilege to work for a company like Urban Poling – a Canadian company owned and operated by women who deeply care for the health and well-being of their clients. They are working so hard to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
My association with Urban Poling will continue, as I further develop my local Nordic walking business, Active by Nature. As Canmore is a small town with tourism as its most important business sector, my target market is visitors to Canmore: visitors from Calgary, across Alberta, from all over Canada and hopefully again soon, international visitors. It is such joyful work to introduce people to Nordic walking (using Urban Poling products, of course) while showcasing the spectacular mountain scenery that Canmore is famous for. Last year, a highlight was offering a tour to Denis and Sue, Nordic walking instructors who operate a Nordic Walking UK franchise, Harrow Striders. They absolutely loved their Canmore Nordic walking experience, as did avid Nordic walkers from Belgium. So whether people are new to Nordic walking or experts, Active by Nature has walking tours and hikes in surrounding Kananaskis Country to offer. For details, visit the Active by Nature website, activebynaturecanmore (Instagram), Active by Nature on Facebook. Contemplating an Active by Nature adventure this year? Use promo code UP20 for a 20% discount.
Final quote: “This is now my job for life! Who knows where the poles will take me?”