Total Trek Quest

It’s finally the last week of February, everyone! This semester seems to be dragging along but also is going super fast at the same time. How is that even possible? Anyway, with the semester being halfway over, a program called Total Trek Quest is just beginning. What is Total Trek Quest? Well, let me tell you. Most people refer to it as TTQ and it involves coaches in the community volunteering their time twice a week for a couple hours to train elementary-aged boys for a 5K race during Tulip Time. Even beyond the running aspect, the boys that are involved will learn good life lessons through many activities and discussions that the coaches instruct. In addition, the coaches are there to motivate and be good role models for these boys. My friend Lauren and I are volunteering this season for the first time and we are really excited to see what these upcoming months have in store for us.

This past Monday and Wednesday we had our first practices and we covered quite a few things so far. Lauren and I are working alongside another coach but the three of us have learned nearly every child’s name so far (there’s 12 at the elementary school we are working at) and have developed pretty good relationships with each of them. There’s always going to be those few boys that are overly rambunctious and honestly, a headache, and I believe we’ve figured out who those boys are. Regardless, these boys are all super sweet and respectful which makes going to practice that much more fun.

During the first practice, we had to make a commitment contract with the boys that involved some rules they made up that they believe they should all follow such as having fun, doing their best, being safe and not using bad language. They also had to fill out a pre-survey about themselves and their athletic ability. In addition, this first practice consisted of a run to assess their level of ability and level of athleticism at the beginning of the season. Each practice involves eating a snack, doing strength exercises, stretching, discussions and a fun activity that teaches a lesson or covers a certain topic. If time permits, the boys are free to play (they get super excited when we let them loose to play Sharks and Minnows or whatever child game they make up).

Between both Monday and Wednesday we covered the broad topic of getting to know one another and recognizing similarities and differences between everyone.  It was surprising how much I learned from this simple game. For instance, one of the boys speaks three languages, one lived in Florida, everyone enjoys playing video games except one and nearly everybody likes soccer. Although Lauren and I have only had two practices so far, we can tell that our group of boys are going to be awesome and they seem to all be friends and get along so far, which is really nice. Hopefully there is minimal conflict within the next few months as we train for further distances and eventually get in shape for the 5K while learning some positive behavior at the same time!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Published by Leslie Kempers

Hey Everyone! My name is Leslie Kempers and I am from Santa Ana, California. I am a Senior this year and am majoring in Exercise Science so after my time here at Hope, I will be pursuing a career in physical therapy! I have previously been involved with Nykerk and CASA and am excited to see what this year has in store for me. This place has become my second home and I have cherished every moment here at Hope College. Go Dutchmen!!!

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