Does time come in a box? Not usually.

Carol Sartor, HASTe’s North Shore Facilitator explores the benefits of “time well spent” at her job and with her kids in this week’s special blog post.

As we are entering the gift giving season, did you ever think, the best gift to give is your TIME? Many parents surveyed during the School Travel Planning process quote “convenience” or “on my way somewhere else” as the main reasons for driving their kids to school.

What effect does this have on the ones we love the most; our children? We rush them into the car, stress as we deal with traffic and then kick them out of the car to avoid getting honked at because we stop in a “no stopping” zone. School after school, the same hectic morning stories are shared.

Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to not reach for the electronics in the morning but take those extra 15 minutes and walk to school, or even just a few blocks from school. It is amazing what you learn during a short walk with your child; upcoming tests, classroom drama or fears, you name it. As children think about what the day ahead has in store, let’s give the gift of time to:

  • mentally prepare for the day
  • talk and share stories
  • parent and provide guidance
  • take in the beauty of your community
  • breath in fresh air
  • get some exercise

Once you give the gift of 15 minutes a few times and teach your child to be a safe pedestrian you may feel your child is prepared and ready to walk with friends. Now you get the gift of time back as you are relieved of your chauffeuring duties; allowing you more time to get to work, an extra cup of coffee or even for some moms and dads a nice long shower.

The gift of 15 minutes keeps on giving in amazing ways. Your child builds their self-confidence, sense of independence, becomes more alert at school and gets some exercise. You get a chance to create a stronger bond, the open lines of communication and provide the solid foundation for when they need help.

Start with 15 minutes once a week, and you will see how it makes everyone feel better, less stressed, less anxious and more open. You may like it so much you make it a part of your daily routine. It takes a little planning, but for 15 minutes, the rewards are priceless. Is your child not worth 15 minutes?

Carol Sartor, HASTe Facilitator at the City of North Vancouver’s Kids in the Hall on November 21, 2015.

Car Free Schools

This past spring, HASTe helped organize the first-ever Car Free Festivals in Vancouver for high schools. Great events to promote active travel and kick off a car-free summer. Click here to find out more.

Car Free Schools was developed as a test model for car-free events at Vancouver schools. HASTe set out to improve collaborations and partnerships on school transportation issues and to reduce driving rates to Vancouver schools, and of course, have a little fun doing it! With the help of student leaders at Sir Winston Churchill, Eric Hamber, and Windermere Secondary, each school was able to create a festival that attracted a captive student audience and promote the idea of active travel by shutting down the street to cars and opening it to creative ideas and programming.

The numbers speak for themselves:

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  • approximately 3000 participants at all 3 festivals
  • 250 volunteers
  • 120 activity leaders
  • 3 core organizing teams
  • Each school is excited to run the event again next year and additional schools have expressed an interest in participating as well.

    Thanks to all the supporting organizations who helped to make this an incredible success and we look forward to next year’s events!

    Read the editorial from the Metro News.

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    Back to School & Back to the Future!

    SPECIAL TO PARENTS. As the new school year approaches there’s no better time to re-think the way your children travel to school. Travel behaviour is one of the hardest habits to change especially for families, so we’ve outlined a few small steps to help your family become the most active and healthy school commuters possible.

    Marty McFly epitomized “Cool Routes to School”

    Well before Marty McFly was jumping on and off of his hoverboard or in and out of his DeLorean time machine, walking and biking were the best ways to get around and still are, particularly for short trips.

    No matter if you choose to walk, cycle, skate or scooter to school…

    Add friends to your journey! There’s not only safety in numbers but the social benefit for kids and parents is tremendous! Let HASTe help you start a walking school bus or a bike train.

    Plan your route beforehand. Weekends are often a great time to explore your neighbourhood and find the best routes for the school journey. Avoid the busy streets and find the ones you like the most. The best route should be pleasurable and might not always be the most direct. Adding a few minutes for a happy journey is well worth it.

    Take the lead! Do you think your school could better support active school travel? Let your principal know if you need more bike racks or if there’s a gnarly intersection that needs calming. Schools are places for fun and learning, getting to school shouldn’t be a stressful activity!

    But what if I need to take the car? Try carpooling or park-and-walk to school – parking a few blocks away from the congestion and walking with your child alleviates the traffic around schools and makes the last leg of the journey a lot more fun and healthy.

    Does your son or daughter love to skateboard or scooter? Ever thought about letting them skateboard or scooter to school?

    Once viewed as a troublesome and meaningless activity, skateboarding is now being recognized as an engaging form of physical activity for children. It is an effective form of exercise and builds self-esteem in school-aged children. Read full article

    Is this anyone’s grandfather? Skateboarding was popular even back in the 50’s!

    OK, thanks for reading! Hope some of the tips help. The school journey doesn’t have to be a stressful time for families. Active school travel is truly a wonderful opportunity for kids to build strong relationships with their family and friends, get a daily dose of physical activity and ultimately have fun while doing it! Good luck!

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    Velo-city Global 2012

    HASTe rolls in and rolls out of VeloCity better equipped than ever! We spent all week at the International Cycling Conference in Vancouver and we couldn’t be more excited about the future of cycling in BC! Especially for youth!

    HASTe was fortunate enough to have a couple of presentations accepted as part of the conference. Kerry Hamilton, Community Programs Manager preached the good word about Right to Bike: A Provincial Youth Cycling Education Standard for British Columbia. And we even got some media coverage!

    At a local level, Mike Smith, School Programs Manager provided an overview of the Cool Routes to School Program – Child and Youth Bike Programming in New Westminster, BC – a city leading the way in child and youth cycling initiatives.

    Both presentations matched up nicely with a number of other excellent talks about child and youth cycling strategies from across Canada and Internationally.

    On the final day of the conference, Sandra Jones, HASTe’s STP Coordinator and Cartographer was in attendance for the signing of the Charter of Vancouver – recognizing “the right to cycle” for all children. Very exciting stuff!

    Overall we were very impressed by the conference and left feeling inspired and motivated to continue our work. As more and more families are choosing to cycle as a healthy and viable alternative to the car, HASTe is excited to continue providing support and encouragement to anyone wanting to make the shift happen!

    Well done HASTe staff and conference organizers! We’re excited for next year in Vienna!

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    Queensborough Middle School CAR FREE FESTIVAL

    Queensborough Middle School in New Westminster celebrated their first ever Car Free Festival last week and WOW what a festival it was! Check out the slideshow…

    Queensborough Middle School Car Free Festival

    A BIG THANK YOU to everybody who helped organize and make the festival a smash hit!

    Debbie Jones, Principal QMS
    Kim Johal, grade 5 teacher QMS
    Apinder Sekhon, grade 5 teacher QMS
    Riel Villeneuve, grade 5 teacher QMS

    Jennifer Lukianchuk, City of New Westminster
    Ken Vautour, City of New Westminster
    Natasha Ramos, City of New Westminster

    HUB Cycling (formerly Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition)

    AND of course all three grade 5 classes who did an excellent job of organizing and supervising your stations!

    Looking forward to next year!

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