Group Power Saves The Day! | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka
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Group Power Saves The Day!

How I Found my Strength Through YMCA Group Power!

It was a cold night in December when we packed up our 3 kids and 2 dogs and left for a family visit in the Ottawa Valley.  We have always loved the drive through the small towns but based on circumstances, we had to do this trip at night.  From Washago, where we live, through Norland to Bancroft, the weather was beautiful.  We do a lot of traveling around Ontario and this was our new puppy’s first long distance trip, we were wondering how he’d fare.  On the east side of Bancroft, the weather started to turn and it was getting snowy.  Visibility wasn’t too bad but the roads were slick.  We noticed there wasn’t a whole lot of traffic but we were feeling pretty confident so we kept on our merry way.   

Have you ever driven through Denbigh?  It’s a winding, hilly drive through a lovely treed landscape.   Lovely, when the sun is shining and the roads are clear.  This was a snowy, chilly night, definitely not quite as lovely.  After coming down a very steep hill, we turned a corner and notice a transport truck backing down another steep hill, he couldn’t make it up that hill.  We have to stop….we have just lost our momentum for the upcoming big hills.  UH OH!!!!  

The truck stops to allow us to get up around it….it was obvious the truck wasn’t going anywhere fast.  We asked him if he would wait so we can get around his stuck transport.  My husband backs up our van and goes full steam ahead.  We pass the truck and drive up and around the corner only to realize, there is more hill ahead and it’s even steeper.  We make a run for it but can’t make it up the hill.   We try again, and again, and again with no luck.  We back down to the flattest part of the hill and we wait.  Did I mention that on this particular road, between Bancroft and Denbigh, there is NO CELL SERVICE?  We have 4 cell phones in the car and we can’t tell anyone we are stuck.  

What are we going to do?  When my husband had talked to the truck driver, he said he had radioed for a plow to come and plow/salt the hill again.  We thought, great, okay, we’ll wait for that and then we’ll be good.  We sat on the road for over an hour.  I was thankful that in all the traveling we do, we aren’t in a ditch, we aren’t in an accident, we may have to spend the night on the road but there are definitely worse things.  There was no turning around, the hills going back where just as steep as the hills going forward.  We have 5 people, 2 dogs, we’ll be cozy and warm…positive thinking.  

The plow comes about an hour after our first 3 attempts up the hill.  We are relieved, our usual 3.5 hour trip has now turned into a 5 hour trip and we still have an hour to go.  We back up a little and make a run for the hill after the plow…..we don’t make it.  We back down and try again. We get a little further but we didn’t make it.  We back down and try again.  If sheer will could get us up that hill, we would’ve taken off for sure.  The kids and I are shouting and encouraging and leaning in and sending positive energy for us to get up that hill.  We didn’t make it.  On the last try, my husband was squeezing the steering wheel so hard, I thought it might come off… I said, you know what, I am going to get out and push, see if that helps.  He says, alright, try it.

I come around the back of the van, I plant my feet, put my whole body into it, I give a good heave.  After a little bit more pushing, the van starts to move.  I keep pushing. I have my whole body committed to this and I heave and shout and after not too long, off the van goes.  Now I am running up the hill after the van…thankfully.   I meet them at the top of the hill.  I couldn’t believe what I had just done.  I was exhausted but I had done it.  The kids and my hubby were cheering me on and I am sure the dogs were thankful too.  I was thankful my husband was the driver as I didn’t want to be the one to have to guide us through this storm. 

I am mostly thankful, though, for the time I have put into YMCA Group Power.  I really believe that made the difference and I was strong enough for this task.  It’s because of the full body workout that I have been doing for the past 2 years that saved us from spending a dangerous night on the road.  It was because of countless repetitions – squats, lunges, curls, power cleans, upright rows, you name it.  I have been challenging myself to be stronger.  I am 41 years old and I am truly the strongest I have ever been.  My kids called me “Super Mom.” If I ever questioned what I have been doing this for, I just got my answer.  I found My Power on a snowy hill and it feels great!

By Dale Rowe, General Manager, Barrie YMCA

2 Responses to “Group Power Saves The Day!”

  1. February 08, 2017 at 5:01 pm, Valerie Poulton said:

    Wow! Winter in Canada! You just never know. And what an inspirational story, with a very good ending.


  2. February 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm, Krista Green said:

    Thanks for sharing your story Dale and what a truly great story it is. If being called “Super Mom” inspires them to stay active, then YMCA Group Power will continue to workout in them. So glad that you did not have to spend a wintery night on that hill. Keep up the great work!!


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