stp hotel feature
Walking with The Saint Paul Hotel

People say that every journey starts with the first step, well, May 16, 2012 was the first step of a walking journey for St. Paul Lifeworks clients and employees of The Saint Paul Hotel.

It actually began when Heidi Satre, Group Services Manager, from The Saint Paul Hotel asked me if there were any volunteer opportunities that occur during the day. After brainstorming with the Lifeworks staff we came up with the idea of a walking club. Then we gathered a few key pieces of equipment: map of Minnesota, map of St. Paul, map of the skyway system, pedometer and a journal, we were set! The virtual goal of the group is walking all the way to Duluth, after walking for one year they think they have made it to approximately Hinckley.

I joined the walkers recently to check in and see how things were going. It was raining that day so we took to the skyway system and walked from Securian to The Saint Paul Hotel and back. I have to admit, I ended up at the back of the group because they were walking pretty fast. Despite their speed, there was plenty of conversation happening, what did you do this weekend, do you have any vacations planned, what year did Wheel of Fortune start?

As we walked I tried to ask our clients about the walking club. What do they like about it, why do they participate? Scott said,

“The best part is meeting new people and talking about things.” Brian added, “I like the exercise and talking. I also really like to have someone to walk with once a week.” Emily’s response was short and quick, “The Saint Paul Hotel people rock.”

What about those The Saint Paul Hotel people? There are regular walkers and a couple of alternates, but at least two volunteers each week. I asked them, what is the best part of this volunteer opportunity? Heidi said,

“Getting a break in my daily routine. I am in a customer service role and it is good to be with people who just want to have conversation and fun.” Pat Steineman, Executive Assistant said, “Having the opportunity to meet five wonderful new friends that I can exercise with and visit.”

Any surprises for Pat and Heidi? Pat responded with,

“I am positive that I have learned more from my five friends than they have from me. They surprise me all the time with their level of expertise in topics from literature to rock and roll.”

Heidi added that the group is always happy and positive.

When I asked if there was anything that anyone would change everyone chimed in,

“We wish we could go longer each week.”

The walk is limited to the lunch break so at the end of the thirty minutes everyone says goodbye and see you next week.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, once said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Hmm, I don’t know if TV shows, movie updates, or Wheel of Fortune qualify as great thoughts, but then on the other hand, the walking group is so much more than just walking and talking. It is a group that we are members of, it is something that we look forward to each week; it is the chance to be with friends. Those The Saint Paul Hotel people really do rock! Thank you for taking all of the steps of this adventure with us. Wonder where we will be next year in May?

If you would like to volunteer at Lifeworks please contact me at 651-365-3720 or email me at kpengelly@lifeworks.org

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