Why we climb

Why did you climb Kilimanjaro?

This is a question many climbers may be asked in the next few weeks. It was gruelling and the climb tested our physical and emotional limits. Why did we do it?

There may be many reasons, but for everyone, part of the reason will certainly be the charities we raised money for. All climbers were expected to raise $5000.00 for a selected charity. Teams of climbers worked together on the featured charities. In my case, I raised money for Rec Link – a group that opens up recreational opportunities for kids and families in Ottawa inner city neighbourhoods.

Another one of the charities is SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization that works for children in 134 countries around the world. The children SOS works with are at risk due to the loss of parental care. In some cases, these children live in community with a house ‘mother’ who cares for children on a daily basis until they move on to other communities. SOS provides health care, education and a family-centered base for the development of the child.

We had the unique opportunity to visit a SOS community in Arusha once our climb was completed.

This was an important visit. It is rare that climbers get a chance to see what their money does and how their selected charity works. We do this work in the belief that all of our efforts will pay off and that the charity will be able to do a little more good work because of our efforts.

It really brings all this home when we actually get an opportunity to visit one of the projects that is associated with a Dream Mountain charity. I don’t think it matters a great deal where we visit or who we see. We all could have visited some of the neighbourhoods served by Rec Link and we would have heard similar stories.

The important thing to remember is this is why we climbed. It wasn’t for us, it was for others who we had the privilege to support through our fundraising efforts.  Our greatest success came before we ever touched ground in Tanzania.

We achieved something for people who we will never know. We worked as a good team and we raised over $200,000.

This is what counts and this is why we climbed.

Many hands on the way to Kilimanjaro

Tomorrow we leave for Kilimanjaro. There are 30 climbers in the group and up to 70 others who will be guiding us up the mountain starting on Sunday.

Start at the Machame Gate (1,490 m/4,890 ft) where the group will register and begin climbing to Machame Camp (2,980 m/9,780 ft). Hiking time: 7 hours Distance: About 18 km Rainforest Zone

As I climb up Kilimanjaro, I will be thinking of the team we have all left behind, all those who raised money for us, supported us, cheered us on and said ‘yes’ to the entire experience.

In particular, I will be thinking and giving thanks to my wonderful wife, Heather. Without her love and support this venture would never have happened. Apart from running a really successful fundraiser, she has been with me every step of the way, right from the moment we decided that to do this properly, I had to retire at Christmas so I could focus on training for the climb. She has been my wonderful emotional support every day since this venture started. Retirement was a really good idea!

I will be thinking of my family and all the work and support they have given me throughout the fall and winter, right up to today when my son Liam spent an hour working with me to set up the right ESRI Story Maps to allow for live tracking during our climb.

Liam’s new map that will show Tweets from the mountain along with waypoints recorded by my InReach GPS. Liam’s map is best found at this link: http://arcg.is/2oaUoYc

Then there are so many people who have sent notes of encouragement and who have helped sustain an incredible fundraising campaign that is almost at $10,000 at this point – twice the amount I was expecting to make. What an incredible community of support.

The best thing I can do now is climb well. For Heather, my family and all of you who have helped so much. I am humbled and blessed to have such a beautiful community of support.

Starting on the way to Kilimanjaro

In three days we leave for Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Our journey has been a long one. Not just the training, a major component of this venture has been the fundraising. Today, we have raised over $214,618.00 this year and are over the $1 million dollar mark since 2011.

one of our many group shots during the training hikes on Wolf Trail

We have had a wonderful experience so far. I have tried to record as much as possible through blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.  Here is the latest video outlining the training we have done over the past six months.

Our team leaders have been wonderful – Shawn Dawson, Kristi Johnston and Jason Colley have been with all of us all the way.  I write this so that all readers will know who are responsible for all our training and fundraising.

These wonderful people have been supported by Darren Prashad, our travel coordinator and Don Penney, our webmaster.  We will soon be joined by a whole host of other team supporters.  Shawn has told us that our team heading up the mountain will total more than 100 people.  I hope to introduce you to some of them before we climb.

Our climbing team includes: Byron Johnson, Harry Binks, Crystal Borutskie, Natalie Shea, MaryAnne Ivison, Gillian Barth, Allison Burton, Augustina Dean, Bob Connolly, Virginia Gluska, Jeremy Post, Emily Fisk, Jamie Straw, Karlie Reinberger, Juli Baird, Vicky Castledine, Amanda McCambley, Kevin Brockville, Patrick Fitzgerald, Leta Woodford- Pearson, Troy Pearson, Malcolm Preston, Mark Straw, Megan Benoit, Heather Benoit, Greta Dounev and Roberta Brown

30 people, all climbing together.

The challenge now will be to find good ways for you the reader to follow us in Africa.

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layers can be added to this ESRI map so students should be able to track us up the mountain

This is the map we hope to use to track our progress up the mountain.

To find us on the mountain, you can go to this address:  https://share.garmin.com/PaulMcGuire

you will get an image like this: 

The obvious difference will be that the map that will show up will be from Tanzania.

Finally, to follow us up the mountain and to access the 3D map about, you will have to go to our ESRI Story Map

This is only a screen shot of the last page on the ESRI Story Map, but WordPress.com does not support embedding, so you will just have to go to the site yourself here:  http://arcg.is/2hwfHR3

Lots more to write about as we get ready, but I need to pack!

 

23 Days Until Kilimanjaro!

Every week, I have been putting out an e-mail note to the wonderful group that is supporting me.  Here is the text of my latest note.
There are now 23 days until our group leaves for Africa!
some of the group on one of our training treks in the Gatineau
We have all our gear and the training continues to go well.  This past Sunday I climbed ten sets (31 floors) in a new time – 1 hour and 51 minutes.  This may not seem all that interesting, but for us this is huge.  The only way to prepare for this climb is to get in the best physical shape possible.  There is no way to prepare for the lack of oxygen at the higher altitudes, you just have to work on what you can control.
heart and respiration rates on the stairs
We all continue to fundraise, which to me is the truly unique feature of this experience.  We are now over $165,000 for this year and over one million raised since 2011.
Many of you have contributed to this total and I thank-you for being active participants in this wonderful venture.
Together, we have raised $8695.00 for Rec Link and the Sens Foundation.  Well over the new goal set at $8000.00,  thanks to some really generous recent donations.
All this money goes to kids, so if you haven’t donated yet please consider making a contribution on my fundraising page.  You will automatically receive a tax receipt from Canada Helps for 2017.
Recently, I have been working on learning Adobe Premier Pro and have a new video out that shows some of the training we have done this year.  I will keep working on my film-making skills over the next few weeks.  You can see our latest video, Trekking to Kilimanjaro here.
 
This video will be added to our ESRI Story Map that also contains a 3D map of Mt. Kilimanjaro which we hope to use to show our progress up the mountain.
layers can be added to this ESRI map so students should be able to track us up the mountain

This is what tracking looks like – here, a variety of hikes in the Gatineau


For teachers who are part of this list, I hope you will have a chance to follow us through the Story Map starting March 30th.  I will be posting photos, video, text and our route to the Story Map whenever possible.
Thanks to my technical assistant, Liam McGuire for helping to make this possible and interesting for your students.
The link to follow me live using the InReach tool is https://share.garmin.com/PaulMcGuire
Currently, the page looks like this.
When a student clicks on one of the waypoints on the map, they will receive information on elevation, latitude, longitude and bearing.
I am really looking forward to sharing all this with you.  This is a venture we all will take part in.
 

Dream Mountains gets ready for Mt. Kilimanjaro

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We leave for Mt. Kilimanjaro in 31 days.

This has been a very intense experience on many levels.  First, the physical training has been incredible.  Stair climbing, now as many as 4200 stairs over a two-hour period has been gruelling.

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Every second week we do a trek on the Wolf Trail – a good 2-hour hike up one of the ridges in the Gatineau near Ottawa.  Each of these treks is an opportunity to try out new equipment, new food types and most importantly, a chance to get to know the people you will be climbing with and depending on during the climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro – 5,888 metres (19,318 ft).

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Physical training aside, the next great challenge is raising money for the group we have been assigned to support throughout this entire journey.

For me, this is what makes the Dream Mountains experience unique.  It’s not about you and your own bucket list.  It’s more about the fundraising each of the group members is doing for a great collection of local and national charities.

Our current fundraising totals
Our current fundraising totals

I don’t think I would be doing this if it weren’t for the community connection that has been created between ourselves and the groups we are working to support.  What really would be the point?

For me, another important part of the preparation has been my attempts to explore various communication tools that will allow people to follow the climb while we are in Africa.  I have taken my inspiration for this part of the planning from Elia Saikaly who is a master at telling adventure stories using social media. There is no way I can do what he does during one of his expeditions, but I am doing what I can.

My main tool is one that Elia has used – the ESRI Story Map, a wonderful media tool that has allowed me to tell our story from our early training climbs right up to treks along Wolf Trail.  With incredible help from the ESRI team, I have been able to improve my story map and have learned how to add waypoints from my tracking tools – InReach and Suunto to the Wolf Trail base map.  I am really hoping that I will be able to add points during our climb to a 3D map of Kilimanjaro I have added to the story map.

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The money I am raising is going to Rec Link a group here in Ottawa that is doing so much to help the families and children I used to work with while I was principal at St. Anthony School.

 

our-canadian-kilimanjaro-journey-clipular It is such a privilege to be able to give back to a group that has done so my for our kids and I have the coordinator of Dream Mountains Shawn Dawson to thanks for this. Shawn is a truly selfless individual who has an incredible commitment to give back to the community while supporting over 20 novice climbers in our long journey to Kilimanjaro.  It is such a joy to work with someone who is so positive and supportive and is willing to give so much of himself for others – a very rare commodity in my experience.

Finally, none of this would be possible without the great group of family and friends who have supported my fundraising efforts. It has been truly humbling that so many people would donate so much to help me reach my funding goal.  At this point, I have raised more than $8000.00 for Rec Link and have received wonderful support from my wife and family – without them, this would never have happened.

 

I hope people follow us up the mountain.  I hope the technology works.  I hope we have all trained hard enough.  Whatever happens, this already has been a truly unique and wonderful experience and I am happy to part of this great group.

34 Days to Go!!

Now we are getting close!!

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This is the 3D map I will be using to track my progress on InReach – the map should get updated every day of the climb.
 
34 days until we depart for the climb and $820.00 away from making it to our goal of $8000.00 for Rec Link. That’s just $24.11 a day to make it! If you haven’t donated yet – please click below and make a contribution to help kids here in Ottawa.
 
Here is the link:  http://bit.ly/2bwIrnT
 
Here is the link to find me on the mountain using the INReach site – https://share.garmin.com/PaulMcGuire
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Either way, this will be as interactive as I can make it – if you follow the journey, please make sure you are a true partner in this venture by making a donation for kids in Ottawa.
 
Really looking forward to sharing this with you and at the same time making a significant contribution to a really effective agency here in Ottawa
 
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You don’t climb without support Blog Post # 9

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As I get ready for our big fundraiser for the Sens Foundation next week and look beyond this to the Kilimanjaro climb, I decided to write those who are supporting this great effort.  To date, we have raised $4385.00 and over 70 people have signed up already for next week’s event.  Here is my note to them.
Hello everyone
You are receiving this e-mail either because you have donated to my Dream Mountains charity – the Sens Foundation or because I just want to keep you informed on our progress as we get ready for the Kilimanjaro climb at the end of March.
First, to all those who have contributed, I want to thank you so much for your support.  We now have raised $4385.00 and have sold 75  tickets for next week’s fundraiser/retirement party.
You can still get tickets by going to our ‘donate now’ page.  Everyone who donates $25.00 gets a ticket and a tax receipt from Canada Helps.  Here is the link
There is still time to donate, even if you can’t make it to the gala, we are aiming at reaching $6000.00 for Rec LINK (through the SENs Foundation) before the end of next week.
I have also been working hard on a few sites that I hope will help tell the story of the climb.
First, there is my blog that I am using more as a journal on preparations for Kilimanjaro.  It has a new look and a new title to better reflect the current purpose for the blog.
I also have two story maps, both have their strengths, and I am using both as a way to tell our story as it unfolds.  Both get updated weekly and they act as a running record of the Dream Mountain experience.
The first is Our Canadian Kilimanjaro Journey – a story map from ESRI
The new one is from Sutori, a great new tool.  This one is simply called Our Kilimanjaro Journey
This one includes an on-line forum so students (and adults!) can ask questions about the trip, training or anything else that people may be interested in.  This is very new to me, I hope this is one way to engage students.
I also have a site called Kuula where I will be putting photos from my 360 Theta camera. There is not much there now, but I will add more photos, especially as we climb Kilimanjaro. You can find this site here.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me.  I hope to see lots of you next week at our fundraiser – January 27th at Fatboys in the Market.
Paul

Climbing Kilimanjaro Post # 1

As my first of 31 posts in 31 days, it makes sense to start with future plans.  This blog is names ‘Teach Talk’ and this has been my main vehicle to write about education issues and projects.  This really is no different, the trip to Kilimanjaro will raise money for kids in our school neighbourhood, helping them to get involved in recreation programming in their neighbourhood.  I also plan to use different forms of communication technology to reach back into the classrooms that I can link to.

So, here is #1 – the beginning of the next adventure.

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Hello Everyone!!

In 95 days, I will be setting out on a brand new adventure.  I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a wonderful group of Adventurers led by Shawn Dawson.

I am writing this post for a  variety of reasons.  Some of you have already donated on my fundraising page – thanks so much!  I am already at 48% of my goal of $5000.00.  All this money will go to the Sens Foundation and then directly to Rec Link – a wonderful organization that supports kids and families in the Dalhousie, Ottawa Center West neighbourhoods.  I want to thank all of you for helping me get half way there!

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For you and all future supporters, I created this email group so I can let you know how the climb goes.  I have invested in all sorts of communication technology that I will use to connect to students in schools.  My main platform to tell our story is produced by ESRI and you can access it here.  This is a work in progress and I want to publically thank ESRI for all the wonderful support they have given me.

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Finally, I am looking for your support.  You can join us for our January 27th (Friday) Gala Fundraiser Retirement Party (see above).  Tickets are $25.00 and if you register on-line, we will get tickets to you and you will get a tax receipt!

This promises to be a wonderful night with live music and a great silent auction.

Many of you have supported me on past projects like the Aviva Community Foundation – you are a great, dynamic group that in the past has allowed me to raise $140,000.00 for St. Anthony School.  Now, I would love you to join me on this great adventure and contribute to a really important organization.

Thanks so much for reading this and for your support!!

 

Paul