The First Post

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Practice makes perfect!

Hello everyone,

Thanks for taking time to check out the website. I learned in mid-December that my proposal for the “2017 Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program” was chosen for funding, in short I won a grant from the Lilly Endowment. My grant proposal is entitled, “Chasing the Wind and Spreading the Joy”. The goal of my proposal is to learn to kite board, demonstrate proficiency by entering kite boarding competitions, and to travel extensively throughout the region seeking out kiteboarding locations in order to provide a source of creativity, renewal, and enthusiasm that will enhance my skills as a teacher. Pretty awesome huh?

A few people have given me a confused look when I tell them about the grant and its purpose…The typical question is, “How will learning to kite board help you teach?” The answer, in short, is that learning to kite board will provide a source of renewal, creativity, and enthusiasm that will spill over into my classroom, which is the goal of the grant. Some teachers golf or play basketball to de-stress, I do outdoor stuff. I’ve always wanted to learn to kite board, but it’s a costly activity with front end costs of gear and training being out of reach on a teacher’s salary. The grant gives me the chance to pursue that dream. These activities will transfer into the classroom on a variety of levels. First and foremost, it will show my students that learning is a lifelong activity and that it’s important to take chances to be successful. It help will keep me stoked on life and happy as a teacher. Kids can tell when they have a teacher that has joy for living.

The purpose of this site is to document the experience and share them with my students, friends, family, acquaintances, and anyone else that needs to get a bit more stoked on life. The timing of the grant couldn’t have been better. My kids are both walking and fairly sturdy, my aged border collie still has some pep in his step, and my wife is stoked to also learn to kite board.

For the past 3 1/2 years, the wife and I have been fairly domestic and focused on raising two daughters. As I wrote in my grant proposal, we gave up a view of the Pacific Ocean and daily surfs to have our girls grow up in Indiana within 15 minutes of both sets of grand-parents. Winning the grant gives us the funding and momentum to go out and reboot our lives by learning a new sport that we can practice anywhere.

The grant cycle is Spring of 2017 through Spring of 2018. Over the next year, expect us to travel extensively in pursuit of windy stretches of water and excellent camping. We plan on kicking off the adventure during Spring Break 2017 with an intensive kiteboarding training camp along the Outer Banks, continuing the progression throughout Summer Break with trips back to the Outer Banks for training camps and throughout the Great Lakes region for long weekends. I plan on entering a competition in Grand Haven in September 2017 and then take a culminating trip out to the Hood River in Oregon during Spring Break 2018.

Check back often for updates to the adventure and links to places we’ve been. I am actively seeking guidance and sponsorship on this journey, so if you want to hook a family up…Let me know! I’d love to throw your shop’s decals on my camper, boards, whatever…

OK. Stay stoked people!

Fair winds,

Ben

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