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Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie
Recipient of a Grand Défi bursary
by Nadine Emond, St. John Fisher Jr.  |  6/27/2017

As a Kindergarten teacher I do all types of crazy things. Amongst those, I take my class for a 45-minute outdoor class every day of the school year. I felt the need for a jumping/balance station. I wrote down a plan and submitted it to the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie who were offering a bursary of $5000 for projects to get children moving. I was one of the lucky recipients. I knew they were looking for volunteers for the week-end of “La Grande récompense”, so I volunteered to say Thank you.


Imagine 26 elementary schools, 4200 children and 800 adults all divided into 4 different color groups. I was the “agent dirigeur” for the green team. From 11:00 am on Saturday, we cheered as participants arrived, we offered to set down their sleeping bags on a mat shared with 4 others on the Olympic Stadium floor. We fed them snacks, we guided them to see shows, then again to go play in a huge hall equipped with 19 inflated games. Then it was time for dinner which was taken in the blue section of the Olympic Stadium followed by a wonderful Chemistry show. We were getting tired. Time to change into pj's, use the washroom and brush our teeth.


Yoga time. Quiet TV time. Cheese sticks for a snack. The lights are dimming. By 10:30 pm the overnight “agent dirigeurs” took over for the night. Brief meeting to talk about the next day. Bed time. A huge space with bed camps, snoring neighbours, strong ventilation. 2 hours of sleep... 4:35am and it's time to get up. It has been a while since I was last up at that time. Ah! aging… 5:00am, some children start to get up. Breakfast at 6:00am, pack up your belongings and out the door we went to take the bus to La Ronde! By 7:30am everyone was gone. The floor covered with wrappers, spilled water, lost socks, etc.


It is now time to prepare for the arrival of the 1000 km bicycle ride. A wonderful team of employees and volunteers transformed the place from a huge dorm to a comfortable seating and eating area all in orange color. By the time lunch came around, I was exhausted. I wanted to stay but my senses suggested I go home. My legs hurt but I was pleased. I like organising and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along when a task is done.


Would I do this again? Did I say I was crazy…?


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