A leader leaves his last thoughts
We all start somewhere.
The start has been the subject of many chats this week alone; from where (the start duh), when (now!), and how (slowly and then faster?). But more to the point, TODAY!
Day One of being a leader at NovemberProjectYVR!!
Lead bounce: check
Explain Workout: check
Demo Exercises: check
Support out amazing Community of runners, climbers, early risers, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, partners, everything in betweener and outsiders: check
Take pic: whoops (group photo looked like hell from my camera, THANKS MEL :))
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
It wasn’t the typical start to a Wednesday… Our weekly meetups have been dark, with the slow trickle of head lamps and cars scrambling for a parking spot. However, one particular morning, it began with tears. What usually is a simple embrace, became a full on clutching onto/holding the person up as they briefly crumbled. What came next was eye opening…
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
Vivian, Viv, Speedy, the Blur, the LOUD ONE, is someone that I (Rich) have gotten to know, admire and cherish as part of our wonderful group here in Vancouver over the last 4 years. She is in your face fast but supporting you all the way. She will pace you at a race to your goal without breaking a sweat and then turn around and qualify for Boson the next weekend. She will then go run Boston and check out of the medical tent AMA ’cause she can. This microbit of a human is everything you need in one package. It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Vivian.
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.
It’s always fun to ask a random member of the tribe to write a blog about their experience at November Project, or anything they want for that matter. We are still waiting for that epic “When I lost my first tooth story…”.
Joking aside, this blog post is perfect. Perfect for May – Mental Health Month. Perfect because it’s raw and relatable. Perfect because it goes to show you that we aren’t just half-tired zombies congregating in random parks, fields, stadiums all over the world.
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.