The last two days at summer camp have been quite exciting. We’ve listened to presenters, gone on puppy walks, and enjoyed getting to know one another. However, besides the adorable puppies, there have been two parts that have stuck out to me.
First, Jeff Schultz, official Iditarod photographer, visited us and taught us his best practices of taking pictures, along with sharing his many stories from the trail. Jeff has been volunteering his photography skills to the race for over 35 years, so his passion and knowledge for the race were truly an inspiration to all of us.
Then, we had a surprise guest visit us before dinner last night. Larry Daugherty, first time finisher this year, stopped by to share his story with all of us. Larry explained that his love for the Iditarod began when he was ten years old when his grandmother would send him articles about the race from Alaska. Larry followed his dream to Alaska, with his family in tow, and completed the 2016 Iditarod (despite taking his dogs in the wrong direction towards the beginning of the race).
One person Larry spoke to us about was his high school debate coach, Mike Burton. Coach Burton helped Larry overcome obstacles, and made him feel as if he could achieve his dreams. It reminded me that by using the Iditarod in our classrooms we are making an impact on our students and teaching them the importance of dreaming big and working hard to make their dream a reality. As we say often up here, the Iditarod is more than just a race… it is a powerful teaching tool which inspires our students to work hard to reach their goals.