Walk to Tuk in Merrit, BC
Geraldine Bob likes to walk. Why? Because it is “simple. You just need a good pair of shoes and off you go.” “Nothing much happens on a walk,” Geraldine notes, but that is the way she likes it. For the captain of the LNBS Chargers, walking is an opportunity to unwind from the stresses of work: “There is no better way of slowing down,” she observes. “For me it a moment of zen or self-regulation. I need that daily fix. Walking is the perfect exercise for me.”
Given her love of walking, it is no surprise that Geraldine has been participating in Walk to Tuk since the winter walking challenge was inaugurated in 2010. For some, Walk to Tuk encourages them to get moving. For Geraldine, who was already a year-round walker, Walk to Tuk was the perfect opportunity to find walking buddies. At first, Geraldine could be found walking laps of the school gym for 30-45 minutes each day after school. Soon, however, other members of the school community began to join her. “It was wonderful!,” she exclaims.
While Geraldine is a devoted walker, she likes the fact that other forms of exercise are encouraged: “Each team member can work out in their favourite way.” And while they may not always exercise together, as Geraldine observes, they are still a team. And being part of team means a sense of comradery and accomplishment when a goal is reached, in this case, arriving to Tuktoyaktuk!
For two years, Geraldine captained a team at Bompas Elementary in Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson), the Bompas Walking Beauties. (The team was profiled in NNSL in 2014.) This past year, however, Geraldine moved to Merritt, a small community in the south-central interior of British Columbia. She figured her Walk to Tuk days were over: “When I moved out of the NWT I was sad to see the Walk to Tuk go because I had enjoyed participating in it every year.” An email from Walk to Tuk organizer Sheena Tremblay informing Geraldine that she could still participate from her new home turned her frown upside down.
This year, Geraldine is captaining a team at the Lower Nicola Band School, where she works as a Learning Assistance Teacher. The team of 12 is composed of staff and teachers.
The vast majority of teams that participate in Walk to Tuk are based in the NWT, although more than a few teams have members outside of the territory. Being a finalist in last year’s Play Exchange competition raised the profile of Walk to Tuk and drew interest in the winter walking challenge from across the country, so the decision was made to begin accepting teams from outside the NWT. The only caveat is that these teams aren’t eligible for prizes because Walk to Tuk is made possible by territorial funding.
If Geraldine has her way, the LNBS Chargers won’t be an anomaly; rather, they will be joined by teams from across the country: “Walk to Tuk is such a good program I think it should go Canada wide.”