The Chapacisers will shape you up…. and shape a little culture while they’re at it!
I am so excited to introduce you to Karin Henderson. She’s vibrant, energetic, bubbly, and she’s not just a culture rebel… she’s a culture-maker. And she’s just a normal person like you and I doing some great things.
Karin had a goal to run a half marathon and noticed that there was always people running in her Calgary community of Chapparal. She decided to start seeing if people in her community wanted to start running and training together. What has resulted is something bigger than she expected, and is impacting her entire community.
No one left behind
The birth of the Chapacisers happened through a bad experience Karin had a with a running group who left her behind in the dark, alone at night in an area she wasn’t comfortable in. She determined she wouldn’t let this happen to others. She got some ladies in her community together to train for a half marathon. The rule was; no one gets left behind. When it came time for the half marathon, due to an injury, Karin struggled through the race only to finish last at 3 hours and 10 minutes. Guess who was there at the finish line despite the freezing cold winter day? Her running buddies cheering her on! No one left behind. Karin had created herself some culture! Soon, her running group had gone from 5 to 30.
Creating a community
The group was gaining interest and momentum. They had a naming contest and “Chapacisers” became official. They began getting community sponsors and increasing the various programs they would provide for the community in regards to health and fitness. They now not only have running groups but walking groups, bootcamps, and ladies nights out. Just recently, they had 50 women head out as a team to run the RMS women’s run in Canmore. Not to mention just this past October, another 50 women running in the CIBC Run for the Cure and winning the Top Women’s Fundraising Team Award!
They not only exercise, but they sponsor families and organize food hampers at Christmas. Karin’s idea has turned into a place for women of all ages to find friendships in a lonely world, achieve health-based goals, AND be able to find the joy of giving to the community. That’s some powerful stuff.
Mommy! There are your friends!
The cool thing about Chapacisers is that its not an exclusive group of yummy mommies concerned with gravitating towards those who are the same. Their group is made up of women from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. There are working moms, retired moms and moms to be. There are sisters, cousins, mothers and daughters. They laugh, share ideas and get fit together! The coolest thing I heard Karin say is that their children will see people out being active and say; “Mommy! There are your friends!”. How amazing is it that a community is getting to know one another rather than retreating from the car to the front door.
Their group is now over 100 members! 100 people who have been brought out of isolation to experience the beauty of community…. something our culture longs for, but runs from.
Weight has been lost and confidence has been gained. People’s lives have been impacted. The ladies in the community have met new friends, come out of their shells and some have found a new outlook on life!
Does it take a bit of work? Yes
Does it take a time commitment? Yes
But Karin and the Chapacisers are making a huge impact on their community and creating a wonderful place for their kids to grow up. They’re taking back the role of supermodel for others and their children by modeling health, acceptance and the power of living in community.
The Culture Rebel Challenge:
When I asked Karin, “Why did you start this group?”, she replied “It wasn’t so much about ‘why’, but ‘why not’!”
How about you? Are you living in isolation? Afraid of the world around you? Lonely? Not liking the community you live in? Have you ever thought that you, too, could spark hope in the community you live in? We always assume those who do these things are heroic and different, but I can guarantee you, Karin is just like you and I. The difference is, she stepped out.
Will you? What are some interests you have that could bring people together around you? It’s really that simple.