August 20, 2009
What follows is a special post from our executive director, Jim Sayer, on his recent trip to Bozeman, Montana, for a wellness and health summit.
"After a great family vacation on the Olympic Peninsula, I raced back to Bozeman for a special summit a week ago on wellness and health organized by Montana's senior senator, Max Baucus (www.makehealthhappenmontana.com). Good conference with really high profile leaders from foundations (like Robert Wood Johnson and Kaiser Family), health providers, and nonprofits like the YMCA and United Way. Of course I made lots of pitches for bicycling and bicycle travel. In fact, there were many mentions of cycling and walking as major contributors to wellness. That doesn't always happen in Montana.
I also got the chance to have dinner and visit with Sally Jewell, the CEO of REI Coop. Of all the people I've met at my job, she is one of the best and most ardent advocates for an active lifestyle. Some of it comes from being a pitch-person for such a big supplier of recreational goods – but you can tell that it comes primarily from a deep personal conviction about the joys and benefits of being outdoors. (She was a board member at REI before becoming CEO.) She is an especially big supporter of "no child left inside", a growing movement to get kids away from video consoles and back into the great outdoors – as a dad, I completely appreciate this effort.
On Sally's watch, REI has also continued to support our new route development, most recently with a second grant for our work on a Sierra Cascades paved route (due out next year). If you ever have the chance to meet her or hear her speak, do it. She is approachable, a keen analyst, inspirational and full of good ideas. Though I've got to get her to do more bike travel! Maybe some day when she moves on from being the CEO."
Photo courtesy of Jim Sayer.