Home is where the love is ❤️

There are many definitions for the simple word “home.” One definition is a place where you feel in control and oriented in space and time. Another describes home as the primary connection between you and the world. Robert Frost wrote that “home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

For me, home is even broader. It is Lake Michigan, the Sarett Nature Center, a walk through a forest that is thick with the smell of hot pine, time with a dear friend, or my mother’s homemade strawberry jam. Home is a feeling of deep connection.

The annual Iceman event is a home for me. The shared tradition of braving the weather, cheering on racers, and countless hugs from those I see once a year — it’s all comforting.

In this sense, home is a sense of belonging. It is a smile and a nod when crossing paths with a stranger wearing an orange Norte hat or shirt. Home is where we are encouraged, empowered, supported, and welcomed without pause. Home is that moment when we hear “go Norte” from someone as they pass by a Norte bike train.

When you recognize and value your home, you also want to invest in the space where these aspects of home may flourish. We proudly call the Grand Traverse County Civic Center our home. We have two buildings — the Wheelhouse and the Clubhouse. The latter is a building that’s been repurposed many times. First, it was storage for a Zamboni, then a police station. Now it functions as Norte‘s community bike shop, storefront, and administrative center. A basic, 500 square foot, cinder block building is home to a lot of Norte magic.

Recently, the Clubhouse received a minor facelift — a sealed floor, new countertops, and fresh paint — and now it feels much more like home. The changes will give staff a fresh, clean, and inviting place to greet visitors, collaborate, prepare programs and bikes, encourage new riders, and strike up conversations that become actions.

This mini-makeover provides a new sense of ownership and empowerment to help us deliver on Norte‘s promise. It represents an upgraded home that Team Orange — volunteers, coaches, business champions, donors, and the 1,200 plus annual program participants — can be proud of. Moreover, it sets the stage for a transformative 2022 full of opportunities.

I invite you to swing by and see us soon. We’ll show you our polished Clubhouse and take a walk around the park and community Team Orange calls home.

See you soon,

Jill K. Sill
Interim Executive Director

P.S. A huge thank you to Steve Crumb, Brian Pugh, Paul Deyo, Abby Havill, and Lauren Dake. They put magic to work upgrading the Clubhouse. Watch for an open house in December or stop by anytime during our winter hours.

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