What makes Jen stand out is her constantly positive attitude and her ability to encourage others. Jen, who has type 1 diabetes, grew up with a love of the outdoors. Her ability to work hard, love of the outdoors and advocacy for physical activity and recreation for those with Type 1 diabetes come together in her volunteer work.— with Jen Hanson, Jen Hanson and lauren ann megaw.
She spent this last summer volunteering for Connected in Motion (CIM...), an organization that strives to unite people with Type 1 diabetes who live, or want to live healthy, active lifestyles by encouraging them to get outside, to get active and engaging in physical activity (CIM Mission statement, 2010).
This summer she co-led four multi-day hikes, one day hike and a canoe trip... all with people with Type 1 diabetes. The Canoe Trip took place in June in the North Frontenac Parklands. She also co-led a three day hiking series in Lake Louise, AB; a four day hiking series at Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park, BC; a five day backpacking trip in Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC; and a four day backpacking trip on the Juan de Fuca Straight on Vancouver Island. She also co-led several one day events including outdoor rock climbing in Lake Louise and the Grouse Grind. She stresses that "more than just 'running trips' we were aiming to create a network of adults with Type 1 so that this very underserved population could connect with other people that they could use for support throughout the year."
On top of the actual trips themselves Jen volunteered her time for prep work, social media and website development, as well as the work and guiding during other winter, spring and summer events.
Currently, she is volunteering in the organization and in the facilitation of an upcoming outdoor adventure and physical activity themed weekend at the end of January 2011.
Jen (and other volunteers) are currently applying for grants to expand CIM programming because of the huge success and growth they have seen in the past year.
Jen has also volunteered at two Children with Diabetes conferences; an International conference in Orlando, FL and the inaugural Canadian conference in Vancouver, BC where she was in charge of the organization of the elementary aged children's programs. She has also committed to volunteering for the leadership team for the upcoming international conference during the summer of 2011.
In late May, Jen, along with a committee of her peers, organized and facilitated a retreat for young adults with Type 1 diabetes in Boston, MA. She currently sits on a voluntary committee, after being elected through the Diabetes Education and Camping Association which is in the process of planning their first Canadian retreat which will hopefully take place in Ottawa in May of 2011.
Jen volunteers annually with the Diabetes Hope Foundation, doing odd tasks and helping with their scholarship ceremonies, fundraising walks, etc.
As soon as I saw this contest I knew I wanted to nominate Jen; not only does she love EXPLORE, she is someone I look up to with her ability to merge a love of the outdoors with volunteerism and advocacy for those with diabetes.