Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Everything is about the Journey

Journeys From Home, JFH is for the journey we are connected to, no user group or vehicle type—we exist to bring insight and solution to conflicts that result in injury or crashes. It is simply about the WAY to think, look and act as you and all of us Journey from Home everyday.

From my earliest recollections I wanted to be Zorro. I was 5 and part of the planet. A planet that was pure and thrived with nature cooperating constantly to keep us safe and amused.

A kids eye view of things from the perspective of a five year old is pure and simple. What you see is what is, and what you need you get. Zorro was like the representative of children keeping the playing field fair. In reality he played with adults that were greedy, selfish and self serving, but those adults were just kids that had lost their way somehow.

Looking back at the 50s and being that child that wanted to be Zorro like, but not remembering exactly leads to conclusions that are just speculation if we have forgotten how to be kid like.  But if there is some kids left, even just an atom it can be grown again and Zorro will surface and solve the perplexing problems of greed and ego of the day.

Journeys from Home is the place adults can visit to reconnect with that kid. Whether it is the kid of their past or the kid of the present or future it is about the kid and it is about his or her journey. Our mission is to keep the kids alive and thriving it is that simple. With this mission we get the very best adults, the very best communities and the very kids in the best world possible.

In and around about 1980 a young physical education teacher had an idea. It was an idea based on empowerment and activity, it was and idea that involved 4th grade students and their bicycles. This PE teacher, call him Rocket, penned a curriculum for those students to become hands on empowered. He had realized that training and educating those kids on bikes about traffic and bicycles would one day lead to their freedom, health and their awareness of the journey, taken daily by all of us. This journey of growth can be safe, sustainable and enjoyable too.

Rocket was far ahead of the curve and those students that were trained in the 80s and early 90s have moved the bar along the way and have tracked Rocket down and are requesting that he assist them with their own childrens freedom and futures.

This overview is the simple version about the mission and exactly what is underway. I am the filmmaker that began as one of the partners in 1984, a dreamer too, a Zorro. Those kids Rocket trained have requested the opportunity they were given be given to their children. The opportunity to engage and understand journey options, roadway systems, development trends, quality of life issues early so better decisions can be made later.

Incidental evidence supports the conclusion that all those thousands of trained children ended up much better drivers, more informed transportation partners than the general population is for sure. Today around 25% of our income is used as transportation and the cost are rising quickly. Today the largest killer and crippler of children is traffic related and up till age 39 it is the most likely way you will die.

As one by one of us jumped on this bandwagon in the 80s we knew the facts. I was producing visual tools for the traffic crash reconstruction industry dealing directly with vehicular homicides. Rocket was in the schools teaching, my kids were in the middle of it all as actors in the early program materials we developed. They are savvy and skilled at keeping that 25% of their income, while gaining health, freedom and mobility.

Another friend from the inception is Dan Burden head of Walkable and Livable Communities institute (Walc) now. In the 80s he was a dreamer and Florida first bike coordinator in our Department of Transportation. He was not welcomed with open arms into FDOT, an auto based culture at that time where bikes and pedestrians were just troubles in the road to be dealt with. Problem was he was (implanted) directly by our then Govenor Bob Graham a visionary leader and statesman extraordinaire. The problem was for FDOT not Mr. Burden. It began for me in 1984 when I walked unannounced up to his new office annd said “ I am Robert Seidler a filmmaker and here to help, put me to work” he did! Still does.

Dan and Rocket are from Missoula Montana where the 4th grade program began. Roger and Dan were friends from the late 70s where the crack in mobility began and lead to Florida.

A little backstory is needed here that is not explainable but just is. I live in Sopchoppy Florida a little town lost in time. It is 35 miles and 100 years SW of Tallahassee, has 400 residents and only a dozen different names in the phone book, so I say.  In 1979 a group of visionary leaders wanting transportation improvements met in Sopchoppy for a long weekend of braining. This was way before any of this had entered my radar and lead to Dan Burden being selected and hired a few years later. So Floridas bicycle movement began in Sopchoppy my home by default.

I discovered Sopchoppy on a February bike ride with a friend when a cold rain hit 50 miles into a century ride. By the time I entered the town I had hyperthermia and was out of my mind. The local restaurant, Moms, took me in, covered me with blankets and brought me back to life. In 1982 Sopchoppy was 90% abandoned having been so since the railroad was pulled in 1946.  It was an off the main road town full of original store fronts and surrounded by a river system, cool place, frozen in time. 

I had a newborn daughter at the time and had just found full time employment after college. WFSU-TV was my creative home and film my dreamworld. My Journey from Home had all the parts by 1984 when I met Dan, he provided a mentorship like no other imaginable, still does.

Shortly after meeting Dan and beginning program development Rocket and family began to visit Florida to provide training for PE teachers. Dan invented a 4E approach to his job including Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Encouragement, Enjoyment would follow. Rocket lead the education segment, Roger (Rocket) DiBrito the oldest of 11 Italian Catholics was a white tornado. He had mastered teachers needs early and student motivational needs at birth it seemed. By this time I had determined for sure that Dan was an alien life form planted here on this planet to do good work. I had found a pack of Zorros to work and play with, I was in heaven and I had a mission, they had a mission and it all connected with a good, sustainable and green future.

That is the prequel to today 30 years later and the formation of WALC for Dan and JFH for Roger and I. Social networking, social marketing, the web and digital media have given way to ways to deliver content and instruction effectively and affordable to the masses and our children, their friends and those trained a generation ago is the motivation to grab our swords and virtue and scratch ZORO everywhere people need to journey. From the womb to the tomb JFH can assist you in finding the WAY to empower up so you too can get around safely, efficiently and in a community that supports you.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written and quite compelling. Loved the visual too!