The Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library Opens Branch in Elk Rapids

In partnership with Bayfront Beach and Bike and McLain Cycles, we’re thrilled to expand our bike library to Elk Rapids to provide a much-needed community service that provides access to physical activity and transportation.

The Elk Rapids Kids’ Bike Library aims to keep awesome, elementary-aged students pedaling by making sure their bike always fits, no matter their family’s resources. Young people are able to borrow a bike for as long as it fits them. Once they outgrow the bike, they return it to Norte in exchange for the next size up. For free.

Norte believes that bicycles change lives and this new Bike Library will empower the young of Antrim County to ride more, venture further and embrace a happy, healthy lifestyle.

“Thanks to Bayfront Beach and Bike and McLain’s Cycles, families in Antrim County now have access to awesome bikes that they can use year after year. It is so important to get kids on bikes that fit them well, are comfortable and are functioning at their best to encourage them to ride more,” shared Lauren Dake, Norte’s Antrim County coordinator.

“We are excited to work with Norte to get access to quality bikes for all ages. We are happy to help Norte in whatever way we can to encourage more happy, active kids,” said Shaun Quinn, owner of Bayside.

“We are grateful to have a new relationship with Elk Rapids to get a Norte Bike Library off the ground. The more kids on bikes, the better,” said Kris McLain, owner of Mclain Cycles.

Sizes (check HERE for bikes currently available):

  • 12 inch (ideal for 3-4 year olds)
  • 16 inch (ideal for 4-5  year olds)
  • 20 inch (ideal for 5-6 year olds)
  • 24 inch (ideal for 6-10 year olds)

We also have some balance bikes to share during the summer for a small fee.

In return, we simply ask that the kids promise to:
  1. take good care of the bike
  2. ride the bike as much as possible
  3. be a positive Norte ambassador

Here’s how it works:

Help keep the Elk Rapids Kids Bike Library free. 100% of donations go to support operations including helping pay for supplies to maintain the bikes.

 


Norte | Happy. Healthy. Strong.

Norte is the Grand Traverse Region’s active transportation-centered, youth-focused, neighborhood-based 501c3 advocacy organization.

Norte’s mission is to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart.

Higher Grounds’ Coast Coffee to Again Benefit Kids On Bikes in the Grand Traverse Region

We are thrilled that our friends at Higher Grounds have brought back their delicious summer blend, Coast, to once again benefit more kids on bikes in the Grand Traverse region.

A smooth medium roast with a milk chocolate, brown sugar, and white peach profile, Coast is going to be your new fave coffee. Promise.

We believe that kids learning to move and be physically active as part of ordinary life – like going to school or the park or the library or the beach – and then inspiring their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors, community to do the same is a powerful means to sustainable well-living and healthfulness.

Independent, happy, confident, ready to learn youth are empowered to be guardians of their health, develop lifelong habits to move more and sit less and be leaders in their neighborhood.

Funds generated by Coast sales will help this vision happen.

Coast can be purchased online HERE.

 

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The Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library, 1,000,000 Cans + You

THANKS TO MANY, MANY AWESOME PEOPLE, WE SMASHED THE “MOST RETURNABLES PICKED UP BY BICYCLE IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN EVER” RECORD WITH AT LEAST 1,000,000 RETURNABLES 😉

Now it’s time to return them and we need your help reach our goal to fully fund our Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library for 2020, a total cost of $6,200.

This innovative Bike Library aims to keep awesome, elementary-aged students pedaling by making sure their bike always fits, no matter their family’s resources.

Thanks to our many supporters, young people are able to borrow a bike for as long as it fits them. Once they outgrow the bike, they return it to Norte at the Civic Center in exchange for the next size up. For FREE!

HOW THE GREAT TRAVERSE CITY CAN RETURN WORKS:

  1. Commit to returning at least 200ish cans (there’s a limit of 250 per trip) for Norte by completing the form below.
  2. Whenever is convenient for you between June 11 and June 22, swing by to pick a few bags out of the trailers parked by the Clubhouse.
  3. Whenever is convenient for you, return the cans and bottles.
  4. Whenever is convenient for you, bring the $$$ to the Clubhouse, we’re open 12-6pm weekdays.
  5. 100% of proceeds to benefit our Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library which gets awesome bikes to awesome kids no matter their family’s resources. THANK YOU!

COMMIT TO RETURNING 200ISH CANS FOR MORE KIDS ON BIKES!

  • To send instructions
    Thank you!

 

NOT DOWN WITH SLINGING CANS BUT WANT TO HELP THE BIKE LIBRARY?

$485 of $6,200 raised
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THANK YOU, BIKE LIBRARY AND CAN RETURN SPONSORS!


STAY HEALTHY, STAY SAFE

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

 

Visit the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus for the latest statewide updates.

Making the Grand Traverse County Civic Center Better: Youth Voices Needed

We love calling the Grand Traverse County Civic Center home and being part of this amazing community in arguably the region’s finest park.

The County is currently developing a master site plan for the Civic Center so the park can continue to serve generations to come in the best possible way. They want to hear from our region’s youth about what they would like to see at their Civic Center Park in the future.

If your child is 17 years old or under, please help them take this very important survey HERE. Giving some love for improved access and connection so kids can walk, bike or roll to the park more safely would be rad, of course. So would supporting a new traffic garden and pump track 😉

The survey will be live until June 18th.

 

Norte is pressing on. Full gas. Are you in?

This pandemic has fully tested Norte’s bedrock principles: gritty optimism, collaboration, and creativity.

Though our traditional program rhythms have been disrupted—which has had sincere impacts on our revenue model—we have evolved in innovative ways to continue to reach families across the Grand Traverse region.

Instead of taking a break or hibernating until “this is all over,” Norte is doubling down on our important work of active living, access, connection, and equity.

We’re pressing on. Full gas.

Can we count on you today for a gift of $25 to invest in our community’s happy, healthy, strong future? 

Norte’s vision of ‘happy, healthy, strong’ is more important than ever. Although we always knew that walking, biking and safe routes to get people of all ages and abilities to the places they need to go was always essential, the pandemic is shining a light on it for the world to see.

Thank you for considering a gift of $25 and helping Norte remain vibrant.

With health and hope,

Ty and Team Orange


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On Balance Bikes, Libraries, Previously Loved Bicycles, Summer Camps and Pandemics in the Grand Traverse Region

One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have seen a huge demand for the humble bicycle. Bikes have been a surprise superstar of the lockdown, for sure.

In response, we are working hard to get bikes of all sizes in the hands (legs?!) of all ages, abilities, and budgets in the Grand Traverse region. For health, for transportation, for fun and for inspiration.

From used bikes for sale to balance bikes to borrow to donating bikes to getting on the summer camp wait list, we get a lot of questions, emails, texts, and phone calls every day so we thought we’d share 13 of our FAQs here:

  1. To look at bikes for sale from home
  2. To sell a bike by consignment
  3. Want to donate a bike? First please text us a photo with description to 231-883-2404
  4. Want to look at a bike for sale? Make an appointment here.
  5. Dropping off a bike? Make an appointment here.
  6. Picking up a bike? Make an appointment here.
  7. How do I pay for a bike? Gracias!
  8. Rent a balance bike for the summer? Si. So fun!
  9. How do I pay for a balance bike rental?  Gracias!
  10. Interested in borrowing a bike from our Grand Traverse Regional Kids’ Bike Library?
  11. Is Traverse City’s summer bike camp happening in 2020? Sure is.
  12. Want to get on the Traverse City summer camp wait list?  We’re happy to have you.
  13. Want to support Norte’s great work with a contribution? Gracias.

Keep riding strong and smiling big. Outside still not canceled!

Other questions? Email us or call 231-883-2404

COVID-19 Pandemic Considerations

We want everyone to stay healthy and to stay active – responsibly. The health and safety of Norte’s employees, volunteers, and community are a priority. We are using all reasonable measures to prepare for and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission to our employees, volunteers, and community while continuously delivering services to our community.

Norte has instituted enhanced cleaning protocols, and we are practicing safe social distancing for any in-person contact and are avoiding it when possible. We’re also wearing masks and washing our hands a lot. Best practices have been communicated to employees for protecting their health, and we are integrating those practices into our programs and communications.

Prior to visiting the Norte Wheelhouse,  please fill out a health assessment.  If we need to make other arrangments due to the showing of symptoms, we can do that. All Virtual Yard Sale exchanges will be a contact-free and the number of people allowed inside at any one time limited. If possible, all exchanges will take place outside. 

We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

We encourage everyone to follow the best prevention measures for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace a high-five with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

 

Who’s Ready for Northern Michigan Bike Month?

 

In times like these, the humble bicycle — a staple of the streets — proves itself as one of the most efficient, convenient, equitable, and safe ways to navigate our communities. Resiliency is built into its history. Once forgotten bicycles are being brought out of garages, cobwebs are being swept away, chains are being oiled, and helmets are being dusted off. Bike purchases are at an all-time high.

As states and cities are considering which businesses are essential, most are finding, either initially or eventually, that bicycles also fall decidedly into that category. Not everyone has the luxury of working from home — and not everyone has access to a car or public transit. Here are a few ways bicycles are meeting the needs of the community.

  • Bicycles are essential for many to source food, groceries, or other goods.
  • Bicycles are essential for workers who need a more active or cost-effective mode of transportation.
  • Bicycles are essential to connect friends and family.

As we adapt to the ever-changing needs of our community, let’s keep looking for ways to bring equity into the conversation and recognize the humble bicycle as an essential tool.

To that end, a very modified Northern Michigan Bike Month is a go. Its goal this year, as it is every year, is to build awareness for the growing presence of people of all ages and abilities on bicycles here in this fantastic place we call home.

THE 2020 NORTHERN MICHIGAN BIKE MONTH CALENDAR:

OTHER NORTE OFFERINGS DURING COVID:

OUTSIDE REMAINS ESSENTIAL

To navigate our way through this and come out with a stronger community, staying active, staying healthy, staying responsible is our challenge. Norte programs empower everyone to make outdoor activities part of our everyday lives. Now is the time, like no other, to put that into practice. Get out solo. Explore the area around your home with your family. Wave to your friends from opposite sides of the street.

Importantly, stay active responsibly. The Stay Home, Stay Safe order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, is not a suggestion. It is an order. Thankfully, it recognizes that working out the kinks and stretching our legs is essential. 

When you do have to leave home, please follow these preventive measures for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold recommended by public health officials.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

Norte continues to respond to the COVID-19 threat by implementing protective safety measures according to the latest from U.S. Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Grand Traverse County Health Department. We are proud to lend our voice to help build awareness of COVID-19 and best practices to curb the spread of the virus. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.

We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

A special shout out to those on the front lines at Munson Healthcare – Thank you! They are in dire need of community support. Please click through to see if there’s something you can do. They need donations and medical supplies.

From School-Based To Neighborhood-Based: We’re Keeping It Rolling

With COVID-19 canceling our school-based, in-person spring programs, we’re excited to offer our programs virtually to families in the Grand Traverse region.

Our three school-based programs, The Bike Más Project, Estrellas and Mountain Bike, teach confidence, independence, active living and bike safety skills to all kids of all ages, preschoolers to high school seniors. Our virtual programs will allow kids to learn new skills and increase their physical activity while being safe in their neighborhood.

Join lots of other kids from across the 5 county area here in Northwestern Michigan to ride bikes and learn new skills together, but separately. All abilities and experience levels welcome. Thanks to generous support from our donors, these programs are offered free of charge to families.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN:

OTHER NORTE OFFERINGS DURING COVID:

OUTSIDE IS NOT CANCELED. IT HAS BEEN DEEMED ESSENTIAL. 

To navigate our way through this and come out with a stronger community, staying active, staying healthy, staying responsible is our challenge. Norte programs empower everyone to make outdoor activities part of our everyday lives. Now is the time, like no other, to put that into practice. Get out solo. Explore the area around your home with your family unit. You can wave to your friends from opposite sides of the street.

Importantly, stay active responsibly. The Stay Home, Stay Safe order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not a suggestion, it is an order. Thankfully, it recognizes that working out the kinks and stretching our legs is essential. 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING. SOCIAL SOLIDARITY.

During this time, we must also maintain the social support networks we have, even if that means, for the time being, focusing on timely Facebook shout outs, friendly text messages, and calls, virtual meet-ups, and shouts across the street to a neighbor on their porch. Social distancing is the chosen public health term, and we can honor it with physical distancing and social solidarity. With that in mind, we will be adding activities to the list below to help keep us busy. 


Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.  We’ll get through this together.  We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

A special shout out to those on the front lines at Munson Healthcare – Thank you! They are in dire need of community support. Please click through to see if there’s something you can do. They need donations and medical supplies.

When you do have to leave home, please follow these preventive measures for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold recommended by public health officials.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

Visit the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus for the latest statewide updates.

Let’s Keep It Rolling: Happy, Healthy, Strong Families and Your New Favorite Shirt

 

Awesome news, our friends at Tee See Tee have just released your new favorite t-shirt!

Proceeds will benefit our work of empowering kids – and those who love them – to be active for life here in the Grand Traverse region.

Adult and youth sizes are now available for order HERE.

Norte Programs Go Virtual

With COVID-19 canceling our school-based, in-person spring programs, we’re excited to offer our programs virtually to families in the Grand Traverse region.

Our three school-based programs, The Bike Más Project, Estrellas and Mountain Bike, teach confidence, independence, active living and bike safety skills to all kids of all ages, preschoolers to high school seniors. Our virtual programs will allow kids to learn new skills and increase their physical activity while being safe in their neighborhood.

Join lots of other kids from across the 5 county area here in Northwestern Michigan to ride bikes and learn new skills together, but separately. All abilities and experience levels welcome. Thanks to generous support from our donors, these programs are offered free of charge to families.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN:

OTHER NORTE OFFERINGS DURING COVID:

OUTSIDE IS NOT CANCELED. IT HAS BEEN DEEMED ESSENTIAL. 

To navigate our way through this and come out with a stronger community, staying active, staying healthy, staying responsible is our challenge. Norte programs empower everyone to make outdoor activities part of our everyday lives. Now is the time, like no other, to put that into practice. Get out solo. Explore the area around your home with your family unit. You can wave to your friends from opposite sides of the street.

Importantly, stay active responsibly. The Stay Home, Stay Safe order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not a suggestion, it is an order. Thankfully, it recognizes that working out the kinks and stretching our legs is essential. 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING. SOCIAL SOLIDARITY.

During this time, we must also maintain the social support networks we have, even if that means, for the time being, focusing on timely Facebook shout outs, friendly text messages, and calls, virtual meet-ups, and shouts across the street to a neighbor on their porch. Social distancing is the chosen public health term, and we can honor it with physical distancing and social solidarity. With that in mind, we will be adding activities to the list below to help keep us busy. 


Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.  We’ll get through this together.  We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

A special shout out to those on the front lines at Munson Healthcare – Thank you! They are in dire need of community support. Please click through to see if there’s something you can do. They need donations and medical supplies.

When you do have to leave home, please follow these preventive measures for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold recommended by public health officials.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

Visit the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus for the latest statewide updates.

Bicycle Grand Traverse: Essential Transportation For People in the Grand Traverse Region

Bicycle Grand Traverse is a community campaign to connect people with quality used bikes to people in need of reliable, economical, and independent transportation.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Have a quality, functioning adult bike to donate?  DONATE A BIKE.
  2. Need a bike to get you to the places you need to go to? REQUEST A BIKE.
  3. Have the skill, space, and tools to work on the occasional bike donation to make sure it’s safe? HELP TUNE-UP BIKES and volunteer to work on bikes in your home shop.

At this time, you must live in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau counties to donate, request, or volunteer.

Questions? Let us know hello@elgruponorte.org


Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.

When you do have to leave home, please follow these preventive measures for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold recommended by public health officials. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

Visit the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus for the latest statewide updates.

 

Raising My Words: I Advocate

 

For better or worse, I’m pretty soft-spoken. If only I had a nickel every time someone’s first response to me was, “Come again?” Or, my favorite since becoming a teacher, “Use your teacher voice, Kaischa.”

The irony is, when I use my “teacher voice” in my classroom, I don’t generally raise my voice. Instead, I have a small microphone, almost endlessly strapped around my neck. I like it because it allows me to project without shouting, yelling, or screeching. In essence, I keep the peace and raise my words.

Over the last year, I’ve been inspired to raise my words more outside of school, in my community of Traverse City. The inspiration? Being hit at 35 mph while using the Grandview Parkway crosswalk near Elmwood Avenue. The crash devastated my body, which required extensive treatment and a year of physical therapy to recover. It did not, however, devastate my spirit.

I’ve come to the profound realization that living is not anything to take for granted. Moreover, my existence, my message, have meaning and power beyond what I used to recognize. Driven by that gratitude and a desire for positive social impact, I’ve found an avenue to share my voice with Norte’s advocacy efforts. I share their passion for happy, healthy, strong communities and fully support the effort of safe, accessible, and connected places to walk and bike.

Last year, Norte helped me tell my story. I spoke with reporters, AM talk show hosts, and met with transportation officials. Since then, the Michigan Department of Transportation has improved what I affectionately call “my crosswalk” with signals that stop traffic for people crossing the street. I’m thankful for that improvement, yet at the same time recognize we need growing effort and investment that prioritizes safety across the community as standard.

My question to you is: How are you using your voice? How do you raise your words? In Norte, I’ve found a community where my voice is respected, valued and part of something larger than myself. Transformation happens when voices join, and I invite you to be part of a healthy, happy, strong transformation.

—-

Kaischa Smith is a teacher at Willow Hill Elementary and currently sits on Norte’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Committee. She told this story in Norte’s first-ever Annual Report.

Read the 2019 report online or download a PDF version below.

 


Download “Norte's 2019 Annual Report” NorteAnnualReport2020-final.pdf – Downloaded 171 times – 25 MB

 

 

 

Changing the odds in favor of more happy, active-for-life kids in the Grand Traverse Region

This column originally appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle on March 12, 2020.

In case you missed it, the City of Traverse City was just announced as a finalist for the 2020 Michigan Governor’s Fitness Award in the “Active Community” category for its recent Safe Routes To School efforts to increase healthy action transportation-centered access to schools across our town. An inspirational $2M investment around Traverse City’s 10 in-town schools is on track for construction this year. Even if we don’t beat out City of Kalamazoo and City of Mackinac Island for the honor, being in the top three in the state this year is a big deal that deserves many high fives.

It’s not exactly news that Traverse City is an active town. With our many runners, walkers, bikers, skiers, hikers, and swimmers, we see this on display daily year ‘round, but what I’m really excited about is the recent investment in the health of our young people.

From more sidewalks and safer crosswalks around neighborhood schools to creating more engaging-for-all-ages art in public places to new and improved neighborhood parks including Hickory Hills, I love that Traverse City is making it safe and fun for kids and their friends to play and explore independently.

By making outside easier–the obvious and irresistible choice–we’re nudging the system away from a culture of screens, the coach, and mom the unpaid Uber driver to a culture of happy, healthy, and independent active-for-life kids.

  • Kids like Tripp who’s biked to Eastern Elementary every day this school year.
  • Kids like Moses who I saw skateboarding by the bay with his buddies last Sunday when it was in the 50s.
  • Kids like Mae and Wren who embraced skating on their neighborhood rink off of 14th Street.
  • Kids like my son, Jameson, who lives at the Civic Center skatepark with his crew even in March.
  • Kids like Kira who walks to take the Bayline to Greenspire School every day.
  • Kids like Parker who go down on wide skies very fast at Hickory.
  • And kids like Will who go up on skinny skis very fast at Hickory.

When we see kids like these in our town, we know we’re doing something right. Much like the trout in a stream tells us the habitat is healthy. It’s the same way with kids in a town. They’re an indicator species of a strong, vibrant town. Outside kids are healthier, happier kids which is the foundation of an active community. Today, and tomorrow.

By dreaming big, thinking differently, and intentionally disrupting the status quo of childhood obesity, anxiety and depression by design, we’ll continue to change the odds in favor of more – lots more! – happy, active-for-life kids.

In the not so distant future, Traverse City won’t just be the most active town in Michigan, but the most active town in America.

Let’s keep it rolling.


Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly

 

Outside is not canceled. It has been deemed essential. 

To navigate our way through this and come out with a stronger community, staying active, staying healthy, staying responsible is our challenge. Norte programs empower everyone to make outdoor activities part of our everyday lives. Now is the time, like no other, to put that into practice. Get out solo. Explore the area around your home with your family unit. You can wave to your friends from opposite sides of the street.

Importantly, stay active responsibly. The Stay Home, Stay Safe order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not a suggestion, it is an order. Thankfully, it recognizes that working out the kinks and stretching our legs is essential. 

Physical Distancing, Social Solidarity

During this time, we must also maintain the social support networks we have, even if that means, for the time being, focusing on timely Facebook shout outs, friendly text messages, and calls, virtual meet-ups, and shouts across the street to a neighbor on their porch. Social distancing is the chosen public health term, and we can honor it with physical distancing and social solidarity. With that in mind, we will be adding activities to the list below to help keep us busy. 

Healthy, Safe, Fun Things To Do:

 

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.  We’ll get through this together.  We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

A special shout out to those on the front lines at Munson Healthcare – Thank you! They are in dire need of community support. Please click through to see if there’s something you can do. They need donations and medical supplies.


Once things return to normal, we’ll have way more fun things to do, promise. Stay up to date and involved.

 

 

Outside Still Not Canceled: A Refreshed 20 Mile Family Walk Challenge Continues With Stretch Goals, School Competition and More Kindness

With in-person school canceled and being active as a family unit more critical than ever, the 20 Mile Family Walk Challenge – inspired Mark Wilson’s very successful 100 Mile Walk – aims to raise awareness for happy, healthy, strong families during these uncertain times.

HOW IT WORKS

  1. Commit – Complete the form below. If you’re taking part in our virtual “School Competition” – area elementary schools competing in a not so serious way – please select that option.
  2. Sign up – Join the 20 Mile Walk Club HERE to track your progress (Strava is a free mobile fitness tracking app).
  3. Walk – Outside where you are, when you can with your family at least 1 mile a day for 20 days.
  4. Be Kind – Commit to spreading kindness at least once. Think: sidewalk or driveway chalk art, picking up trash, delivering a positive letter to a friend or neighbor etc. Get creative!
  5. Celebrate – Because outside isn’t canceled, let’s celebrate the outdoors by walking at least one mile per day with our families. BONUS! Our friends at Moomer’s Homemade Ice Cream will provide a $5 gift certificate to every family who completes the challenge. Side note: have you tried Norte’s custom Moomer’s ice cream, OrangeCycle, yet? It’s deeeeelicious. 

**4/6/2020 UPDATE**

For those of you awesome folks who started this challenge in March and have already made it to 20 miles, let’s keep it going through April, OK?! You have two stretch goal options from which to choose:

  • Orange Challenge – 2 miles a day through April for a total of 68 miles
  • Blue Challenge – 1 mile a day through April for a total of 44 miles

Let us know which one you’re doing by posting your favorite photo from the original challenge with “Orange” or “Blue” to your favorite social media channel and tag Norte.

HELPFUL THINGS TO KNOW

  • The 20 Mile Walk is both free and awesome. Physical distancing is a better term than social distancing. Explore your neighborhood or a trail in the woods with those closest to you, but responsibly at least 6 feet apart from other folks.
  • If you don’t have Strava on your phone, download the app, create an account, search for the “20 Mile Walk” club, and then join it. Each time you head out for a walk, hit start in the app and stop when you finish. Super easy. [If you forget, or don’t enough data to keep it on the whole time you’re out, you can also manually log your activity at a later point. Check out this Strava how-to.]
  • We want everyone to avoid cabin fever, so only outside walks count for the challenge.  Sorry, treadmills.

COMMIT TO THE 20 MILE WALK

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly.

When you do have to leave home, please follow these preventive measures for viruses by public health officials.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes and high-fives with a friendly wave from at least six feet away.

Visit the Michigan.gov/Coronavirus for the latest statewide updates.

Happy, Healthy, Strong Communities by Design

The happy, healthy, strong community provides dignified accessibility for everyone. When we cross the street, we don’t need to run or play “Frogger.” When the family gathers after a day at work and school, the 10-year-old leads the way with confidence to the ice cream shop. On the way home, the family swings by the park and stays ‘til dark visiting with neighbors.

The happy, healthy, strong community is built on top of equitable policies set in school administrative buildings, city and township halls, and conference rooms. Decisions are considered in the abundance created by collaboration and creativity, rather than in the vacuum of short term budget constraints and scarcity mindset. Policymakers strive to understand the cascading impacts of their decisions on health, equity, and connections. The result is safer, more active places where we come together by design. Everyone feels valued, everyone is celebrated, and everyone is encouraged to realize their full potential.

The happy, healthy, strong community is what Norte celebrates, envisions, and works to create and maintain. It is the fundamental metric by which we measure our daily work. Our success is measured by the number of smiles generated in community slow rolls, summer camps, and balance bike meet-ups. We see Norte’s impact when citizen advocates engage and represent their community with confidence and clear voices. We revel in the story of the person inspired to walk to work by all the people on bikes and foot around town in their bright orange hats. And, then inspire their co-workers to join them.

The happy, healthy, strong community isn’t a dream–we see expressions of it every day. Our task at Norte and across northern Michigan is to advance these experiences, celebrate them, advocate for them, and make them the foundation of our work. The happy, healthy, strong community is by design.

 


This essay by Gary Howe first appeared in Norte’s very first Annual Report.

Read the report online or download a PDF version below.


Download “Norte's 2019 Annual Report” NorteAnnualReport2020-final.pdf – Downloaded 171 times – 25 MB

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order No 2020-21,” putting “Stay Home, Stay Safe” in effect until April 13. We encourage everyone to follow the State’s COVID19 Website and Grand Traverse County COVID19 for continued updates to all CDC recommendations and information. 

We want to highlight section 7.a.1 of the Governor’s order. It states we may leave our homes “to engage in outdoor activity, including walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.” 

Outside is not canceled. It has been deemed essential. 

To navigate our way through this and come out with a stronger community, staying active, staying healthy, staying responsible is our challenge. Norte programs empower everyone to make outdoor activities part of our every day lives. Now is the time, like no other, to put that into practice. Get out solo. Explore the area around your home with your family unit. You can wave to your friends from opposite sides of the street.

Importantly, stay active responsibly. The Stay Home, Stay Safe order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not a suggestion, it is an order. Thankfully, it recognizes that working out the kinks and stretching our legs is essential. 

Physical Distancing, Social Solidarity

During this time, we must also maintain the social support networks we have, even if that means, for the time being, it focuses on timely Facebook shout outs, friendly text messages and calls, and shouts across the street to a neighbor on their porch. Social distancing is the chosen public health term, and we can honor it with physical distancing and social solidarity. 

For those who can, supporting our local businesses that remain open during is a powerful show of solidarity and will keep you energized. Here is a list of our Business Champions still open.  Many of them deliver – reduce the number of people out and about, take them up on it! 

Check their websites or call in advance. And for a broader range of businesses, here are lists published by Traverse City TourismDowntown Traverse City Association, and Elk Rapids DDA. The Village of NorthportVillage of Suttons Bay, and Downtown Kalkaska are also sources for local updates.  

Please peruse all of our Business Champions, many of whom will play particular roles in the eventual recovery. None more so than the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, which is seeking donations for its Urgent Needs Fund. These funds will assist vital regional services in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties. 

And, a special shout out to those on the front lines at Munson Healthcare – Thank you! They are in dire need of community support. Please click through to see if there’s something you can do. They need donations and medical supplies.

For the time being, we are going to cloister ourselves. These actions are for the safety and health of the community. Those walls are going to close in, so find a motivator to keep you active and friends to keep you tuned into your social support group.

Be cautious. Stay away from places like playgrounds and things like doorknobs as much as you can, but get outside. Breathe. 

We’re in this together. Be strong. Be well. 

 

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Active, Responsibly

 

Happy March! Norte’s Spring Programs are Right Around the Corner

Spring is on the horizon! Here are a few updates from your favorite Norte Program Director, Mr. Ben Boyce.

  1. Classes are available for Norte’s bike mechanics class series during spring break. 2 classes per day from March 27 through April 3 for most ages. Details and registration link here.
  2. Norte’s longest-running after school adventure-by-bike program, The Bike Más Project, returns in May to take 4th-7th graders on 90-minute bike adventures to learn smart biking skills. Small teams of 5 students leave right from school! Details and registration link here. 
  3. ​There are still some spots open for this spring’s Grand Traverse Region Youth Mountain Bike Team Program. New locations and team formats for the new year: elgruponorte.org/mountainbike/    
  4. Does riding in the woods with your kid sound like a good time? We are looking for parent volunteers to help our youth mountain bike team coaches by riding as the team sweep for the back of the pack. There are LOTS of opportunities to help! Details, volunteer background check form, and sign up schedule all here!

It’s hard to NOT be excited for springtime after this warm weekend! Soon enough we’ll have dry pavement and fast dirt ready to welcome hundreds of eager tires for a spin. I hope you can join us!

– Ben

PS. More awesome news! We just opened up another session of summer bike camp the week of June 29th with full-day options thanks to our friends at Northwestern Michigan College For Kids and Traverse Area Community Sailing. Details and registration link HERE.

[Video] Winter Walk Wednesday With Tori Craig

Active Kids, Healthy Grand Traverse

The Center for Disease Control recently unveiled its Active People, Healthy Nation campaign to “help 27 million Americans become more physically active.” The campaign identifies eight evidence-based strategies that communities can implement to increase physical activity across sectors and settings.

We’re implementing six of these strategies right now here in the Grand Traverse Region: 

Strategy #1: Active Routes to Everyday Places

Norte’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike advocacy work is pushing for best practices, policies, design, and infrastructure to support activity-friendly routes to everyday places. Think…more sidewalks in Traverse Heights neighborhood, a proposed trail from 14th & Division to the Grand Traverse Commons as part of the Safe Routes To School project, a contraflow bike lane on 7th, a protected bike lane on 8th, and the pedestrian-activated lights on Grandview Parkway. These important changes improve access to make it safe and easy to walk, bicycle, or wheelchair roll for people of all ages and abilities by better connecting places like grocery stores, schools, worksites, libraries, parks, and health care facilities. 

Strategy #2: Access to Places for Physical Activity

By improving connection and access to the Grand Traverse County Civic Center (the conditionally approved Safe Routes To School infrastructure grant features improvements to Fair at Front, Fair, and 8th, a new sidewalk on West Civic Center Drive and an improved Washington & Garfield crosswalk) and value (Norte’s free Community Bike Shop at the Clubhouse and free Kids Bike Library at the Wheelhouse) to the park, we’re providing options and opportunities to make physical activity safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.

Our partnerships with the Grand Traverse County’s Bike Share, Winter Walk Wednesdays with Munson Medical Center, the Excellent Bike Parking Project and our Business Champion program are all ways we’re helping workplaces improve their employees’ health behavior, habits, motivation, and culture.

Strategy #3: School and Youth Programs

The Bike Mas Project, Estrellas balance bike program, youth mountain bike team, Summer Bike Camp, Amigos, bike train network and Park & Strolls are all examples of Norte’s engaging and impactful programs that increase physical activity before, during, and after school to help students get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Strategy #4: Community-wide Campaigns

Our many community-wide campaigns including Winter Walks Wednesdays, the Kids vs Adults Smackdown, The Great Northern Michigan Shovel Experiment, Northern Michigan Walk/Bike To School Days, Winter Bike To Work + School Day, and Fridays Fantasticos, promote physical activity through collaboration along with engaging, multichannel messaging such as television, radio, newspaper columns, and social media to promote community-wide physical activity campaigns.

Strategy #5: Social Supports

Mark Wilson’s 100 Mile Walk, Vasa Domingos, Traverse City, and Elk Rapids social slow rolls, and our summertime meet-ups for preschoolers and kids with special needs are all examples of our inclusive and accessible programs that provide supportive social networks, friendships, and actions that help people start, maintain, or increase their physical activity levels.

 Strategy #6: Equitable and Inclusive Access

Thanks to many generous contributors, Norte’s robust Scholarship Fund allows kids to participate in our educational programming no matter their families’ circumstances. Equity goals are also achieved through our free Kids Library, free Community Bike Shop, and partnership with Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District’s Oak Park School, New Campus School and Life Skill Center.


We believe kids who learn to move and be physically active as part of ordinary life – like going to school or the park or the library or the beach – and then inspire their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors, community to do the same is a powerful means to sustainable well-living and healthfulness.

Learn more about our programs, events and community services.

Winter Walk Wednesday at Munson Medical Center