November Project aims to create community through fitness and accountability, where all people are welcome, regardless of race, age, gender identity, sexuality, and/or ability. The reality is that our organization is predominantly white, and some of our norms are rooted in white supremacy culture. That is, people whose identity is anything other than one of privilege and power may not feel welcome, they may feel that NP does not maintain a safe space for them, or that our culture requires they assimilate and/or ignore some part of themselves to find commonality and belonging. This can manifest in the language we use: for example, using “guys” to refer to a group of people. The places we meet can inhibit participation based on proximity to parking or public transit; dimly-lit parks have consequences. In so many ways, we have been shouting “inclusivity” while drowning out the voices of those who are trying to tell us otherwise.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen justified anger and dismay in response to George Floyd’s murder manifest in many forms – both in our own city and across the world. I’m grateful to see more people insist that Black Lives Matter, I’m encouraged that the Denver School Board voted to end their contract with the Denver Police Department, and I’m optimistic about efforts such as the Law Enforcement Integrity & Accountability Act SB217 passing in the Colorado Legislature. I’ve also spent some time reflecting on the work I need to do as an individual, as a November Project coleader, and that our free fitness community needs to embrace.
I’m sure that many of you are longing for the days where you’ll be able to embrace your friends with a tight hug, high-five, or a fist bump. Unfortunately, there are still many uncertainties that are surrounding COVID-19 so until further notice, please make sure to refrain from engaging in physical contact with your fellow members before, during, and after the workout. Consequently, all workouts will be designed to follow this directive (no partner exercises, close encounters, etc.)
This is another NP staple that will have to take a back seat for a foreseeable future as having people in a tight space chanting and engaging in call-and-response is something that we don’t deem safe under the circumstances. We know that for some of you, the bounce is a great way to get into the mindset of the workout and we’re encouraging Co-leaders to come up with different creative ways to engage in introductions that will get you fired up to get going.
For those choosing to wear masks or a face covering while working out, we encourage you to participate at the level that is comfortable for you but please be aware that the mask can increase the workload and cause unnecessary strain on your body. If you are feeling light-headed, dizzy, or short of breath, please find a safe place to take a seated rest, slow your breathing, and hydrate. As always, locate a Co-leader and call your local emergency number if you are in need of medical attention.
Before starting the workout, all members (new and old) will have to sign an online waiver that can be found by visiting this link or in the website top navigation as well as the footer, in the link named “Waiver”. Participation in November Project workout will not be allowed without a signed waiver.
We understand that some of these things may not feel like the days of “old” November Project, but the beauty of this community is its willingness to adapt to the circumstances and make the best out of the situation in service of the greater good. We appreciate your help in making the re-opening of NP as seamless as possible.
During the media event in New York this spring, we proudly announced Brooks as exclusive footwear and apparel of November Project. Brooks has been an integral part of November Project Seattle for years and we were incredibly proud to grow this local relationship and introduce it to the global NP family. And what a ride has been so far: We helped Brooks community, run millions of miles for an incredible cause. We earned some sweet swag during the Sunrise6k. Our leaders visited Seattle and Brooks HQ during the Meeting of the Minds. And in Las Vegas, we collectively put together one of the most memorable NPSUMMIT gatherings. And if this year was a taste of the things to come, 2020 will be incredible.
We’ve been friends and fans of Knockaround folks for many years but 2019 marked a designation of this brand as official sunglasses of November Project. Through NP Homework and a custom NP sunglasses that launched at the Summit in Vegas, it’s safe to say that the future is bright.
This year we added three new cities to November Project family. We kicked things off with the addition of the first city in France – Toulouse. A week after Toulouse, Rochester, NY, put New York State in the lead for the state with the most NP locations (5). The last city to join the NP family in 2019 was Columbus, OH, the sole representative of the Buckeye State!
When November Project became a non-profit organization, one of our long-term goals was to bring free fitness to youth. This year we partnered up with an organization called Playworks that provides structured recess in schools. In conjunction with Playworks, we launched a pilot program where NP members are volunteering in select Boston area schools and engaging students in physical activity and play. The learnings from this pilot that’s currently only available in Boston, will help us devise a plan for scaling and expansion.
Dr. Evan Johnson at the University of Wyoming Division of Kinesiology and Health and his team have launched a study to understand, investigate, and quantify how participation with November Project translates to physical activity habits outside of our early morning workouts. If you’ve attended at least one November Project workout within the past three months please help out with the research and fill out this survey.
MEETING OF THE MINDS
2019 gifted us the second annual Meeting Of The Minds (MOM), a gathering of nearly all 120+ co-leaders from 52 NP cities around the globe. For 4 days in August, these co-leaders descended upon Seattle to discuss the future of NP, brainstorm new ideas for their workouts, build personal relationships with one another, connect with our new partner, Brooks, and tirelessly discuss how we can improve, as both leaders in our community and a global organization. Here are a few highlights from that weekend:
A Peak Behind The Curtain
We had the pleasure of spending an entire day at the Brooks HQ, rotating from one area of the enormous building to the next, to learn about everything from product development to marketing research. The morning was kicked off with the warmest welcome from Brooks CEO, Jim Weber, and CMO, Melanie Allen, who matched the excitement level of a room full of NP co-leaders – an impressive feat in itself. Earlier that morning, before the sun had risen, we were given the incredible opportunity run alongside Des Linden, 2 time Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon champion. So you could say it was amazing the roof of Brooks HQ didn’t blow off with the cheers from the leaders after such an amazing way to start our day. To read more about the experience from the leader perspective, give this recap a read: https://november-project.com/npsf-mom-aka-leader-summit-recap/
This year at MOM we were lucky enough to engage in a deeper discussion with D.A. Dirks and Soumya Palreddy, two experts in their respective fields in building more inclusive spaces through improved language and intentions. The co-leaders participated in activities which fully embraced our true identities, and revealed how we perceive ourselves and others. The exercises gave leaders a chance to dissect their daily patterns and language, finding new ways to invite people in without subconsciously excluding others. At the end of the day, we assembled into small groups to create the November Project Community Agreements; a list of understood agreements that all co-leaders and members are expected to follow if they would like to participate in November Project workouts. They are agreements that we have been quietly following for years, but have never had the chance to put down onto paper. That list has been brainstormed, edited, brainstormed, and edited multiple times and the final result is available here.
EDMONTON HITS 1000 WORKOUTS
Why is this a highlight when Boston and San Francisco hit 1000 workouts before them? Because while there have been leadership changes in both of those cities, the same two leaders, Jen Ference and Nadim Chin, have been at the helm of November Project Edmonton for all 1000 workouts. Yes, they have had co-leaders, including co-founder of NP Edmonton, Andrew Ference, and current co-leader, Rob McDougall, but Jen and Nadim have been at (nearly) every single workout for 1000 straight. Known as one of the more badass winter cities in the NP Universe, the willingness and ability to pull themselves out of their warm beds to go run around in -30 degree weather 3 mornings a week is mind-boggling.
NOVEMBER PROJECT SUMMIT, LAS VEGAS
The 8th Annual gathering known as #NPSUMMIT was hosted this year in Las Vegas, which was wacky for many reasons and gave us many firsts. The Rock N’ Roll race series filled both Saturday and Sunday night with races from 5K to 26.2M. Live music along the course, under the glowing lights of Vegas, it was perfect/odd, unlike the trail scene we’d become used to. But getting our summit celebration to a road race had more than a few upsides. First off,
Team Hoyt SD
November Project is teaming up with Dr. Evan Johnson at the University of Wyoming Division of Kinesiology and Health to understand, investigate, and quantify how this free fitness movement translates to physical activity habits outside of our early morning workouts. Specifically, we’d like to measure NP participants’ feelings of fitness independence both within NP workouts and within your own workouts. We are looking for people who have attended at least one November Project workout within the past three months. This study will be conducted through online questionnaires and an optional phone interview, requiring a total of 25 to 60 minutes of your time. You can take the first step by clicking on this link. We (including the researchers) appreciate your time and can’t wait to share what you tell us!
If you have questions about your rights as a research subject, please contact the University of Wyoming Institutional Review Board Administrator at 307-766-5320.
THE FULL SCHEDULE
Friday – Travel day.
Saturday Workout 6:29AM – Las Vegas City Hall – Please arrive between 6-6:20AM. Workout will begin at 6:29AM sharp – No shirts will be painted during the workout (see “Post Workout” right below). We understand you’re most likely racing at Rock N Roll, but please move your body with us. Standing around is NOT the way to kick off this weekend. There is a coffee shop with a bathroom within a block of the meeting place.
THE BUS Saturday Post Workout / 8AM Depart City Hall
Theme. “Runaround”. What does Runaround meant to you? Running fast? Running slow? Running in place? Running in circles? Running solo? Or with friends? There are no right or wrong answers so show us what you got! Runaround.
Rules. To enter the contest, post a photo to Instagram and make sure to tag @knockaround @novemberproject and use hashtag #NPKnocks. In your photo, you must be wearing a pair of Knockaround sunglasses. Bonus points for #GrassrootsGear. You’ll be judged on creativity, fun, humor, x-factor, and authenticity so photoshop or other photo altering software will not be allowed. If your Instagram account is private make sure you open it to the public otherwise we won’t be able to see your submission.
What if you don’t have a pair of Knockaround sunglasses? This weekend only go to http://knockaround.com and with code NPKNOCKS receive 35% OFF your entire order. The sale kicks off at midnight EST Friday and will end at midnight PST Sunday, June 2.
Timeline. We’ll be accepting submissions starting Saturday, June 1 and going all the way through Friday, June 21. Our friends at Knockaround will pick 6 favorites, which will be hosted on their website for the world to vote on. The voting will start on Sunday, June 23 and will end Friday, June 28. The photo with the most votes will be named a winner and officially announced Sunday, June 30th.
The Prize. A trip for one person to November Project Summit in Las Vegas, NV (flight and hotel) + a different pair of Knockaround sunglasses for every NP workout week for a full year (52 pairs of sunglasses)! Incredible, right!?
So get your creative hats on and start cranking those homeworks out.
Leadership Support and Training:
Our leaders are our most important assets. Their willingness to selflessly wake up before dawn and lead workouts is the only reason that this movement keeps growing and prospering. It’s vital to us that we continue to provide them with support and resources so they can continue to excel in leading their city. One way we do that is by connecting them with other leaders at our annual gathering we call the Meeting Of the Minds, or MOM for short. At MOM, the leaders have the opportunity to share stories, learn from each other’s successes and failures, and foster relationships that transcend geographical boundaries and time zones. We discuss everything under the leadership umbrella such as creative ways to recruit new members, how we can improve inclusivity, ways to plan an efficient workout, as well as addressing ‘Corporate’ topics with strategic decisions that we at NP HQ are working on. We also bring in specialists who have a unique perspective on diversity and inclusion to challenge us to shift paradigms. And even though the hashtag #safetythird has seen its fair share of usage on social media channels, we take the safety of our members very seriously and offer CPR certification classes to every co-leader interested.
November Project, Inc. has two full-time employees, Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric, and one part-time contributor, Laura Green. This trio is in charge of all non-workout leading operations including, but not limited to, designing and executing NP strategy, planning and operating an annual budget, communicating with leaders, growing the new and existing NP locations, and collaborating with our sponsors, partners, and local communities. As we move into this new space, the job description is now expanding into the growth of the non-profit/youth program and fundraising that may require bringing on more hands on deck.
And finally, the not-so-sexy yet extremely valuable tools associated with administrative duties which include website hosting and maintenance, accounting, legal expertise and compliance, mailing, and printing, just to name a few.
We hope this gives you a more transparent view on how your donations are used to grow the movement we all love and appreciate. If you’re interested in supporting November Project, click here.
This year’s annual gathering of all November Project members from around the world will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 15-18 at The Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas. The races on Saturday (5K) and Sunday (10K, 13.1M, 26.2M) actually shut down the iconic “Strip” and don’t start until the sun sets. There is so much more to come, but for now, plan to partake in various activities that will kick off with the workout on Saturday morning and conclude on Sunday night. We will be sharing NP-specific registration codes soon but if you’re so excited that you HAVE to register immediately, who are we to say no?
We’re stoked about all the incredible things that are ahead of us but for now, please join us in welcoming Brooks to the global November Project family!
We believe barriers to fitness shouldn't exist, one of the reasons we are a free fitness group (no money in, no money out) and our members don't pay any fees. Because of this, we need your help.