25 more days…

For the past two weeks, the best part of my day has been checking the mailbox when I get home from work. I love seeing all the return envelopes with checks inside made out to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. Every now and then, someone includes a little note of encouragement, which I especially love.

We’ve received checks from family, friends, neighbors, members of our church, and even complete strangers. So far, Jordan and I are about halfway to our $5,000 goal, and that doesn’t even include any online donations (still waiting to hear back on that total).

I have just two words… thank you!!

When I agreed to take part in this year’s Wilderness Trek for JWRC, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My family helped me stuff, stamp, and seal the envelopes, then I dropped them off at the Post Office and hoped for the best.

What a response! It’s so heartening to see how many people still care so very deeply about Jacob and his family. While we wait for answers, this is the one thing we can all do that will actually make a difference.

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center focuses on prevention by teaching kids to be smart when it comes to their personal safety. They discuss the importance of checking first with parents or caregivers before going somewhere with another person, accepting gifts, or allowing someone to photograph them. While this may seem obvious to us as parents, it’s not obvious to kids, especially when the person is known to the child.

Equally important, JWRC teaches kids to hang out in groups, trust their instincts, and never keep secrets from their parents. The internet poses a particular threat, and parents play a pivotal role in understanding the traps and pitfalls that their children face online. JWRC provides this training, as well.

Clearly, the world is a safer place because of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, and I’m happy to support the cause.

Now, I just need to get in shape.

IMG_0616I have begun breaking in my new hiking shoes that my family gave me for Mother’s Day, and I joined the FitBit Challenge at work, trying to average at least 10,000 steps a day. My plan was to go on a 15 mile bike ride at least twice a week, but so far that hasn’t happened. I also had high hopes of making it through the Couch to 5K app before we leave, but I think it’s fair to say that isn’t going to happen either. Between graduation parties, weddings, showers, birthday parties, and work-related events, I dare say this may be as good as it gets. I guess I’ll just pack lots of Advil.

Now then, back to the discussion of bears. I have been given a great deal of sage advice since my last blog post. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned.

  • There are no bears in Colorado.
  • It’s not the bears you need to worry about, it’s the mountain lions.
  • It’s not the bears you need to worry about, it’s the rattlesnakes.
  • A bear can outrun a racehorse.
  • Bear spray is much more effective than a firearm, but make sure you don’t spray it into the wind (spoken from experience).
  • Don’t go to bed smelling like bacon. Bears really like bacon.
  • If you encounter a bear, make a lot of noise, raise your arms, and try to appear bigger than the bear.
  • If you encounter a bear, do not make a lot of noise, retreat quietly, and never, under any circumstances, try to appear bigger than the bear.

My son Jordan has also tried to convince me that sleeping in a hammock tied between two trees is much more comfortable than sleeping in a tent. My question to him was, how does a bear know the difference between food hanging from a tree and a human hanging from a tree? Seems to me the bear is a winner either way.

And so, you can see I am still all sorts of confused when it comes to a potential bear encounter. I think I will just stop asking for advice and assume that the rest of the Trekkers have a far better handle on this subject than me.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Jerry Wetterling on this Father’s Day to thank him for coordinating 23 of these annual Wilderness Treks to help raise money for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. I cannot think of a better way to honor his son.

If you’d like to support this year’s Wilderness Trek, please make your donation by July 7th.

To donate online, go to https://foundation.gundersenhealth.org/protectkids. Under “Designation,” please choose “Trek Donation – Jacob Wetterling Resource Center,” and in the box that says “Special notes about this gift,” please add “Joy and Jordan.”

Checks can be made out to JWRC with TREK in the memo line. Mail to 16162 Golfview Rd NE, New London, MN 56273. If you’d like to receive a receipt, just let me know and I will get one to you. All donations to JWRC are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you!!

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