Summary: On December 18, 2020, the Rookie Musher Meeting took place via ZOOM. Veteran mushers gave their advice on technical aspects, but they also gave great encouragement about embracing the race as it has been changed and enjoying the experience. Being a rookie doesn’t mean a musher is inexperienced, it just means a musher hasn’t completed the Iditarod yet. These clips feature 3 of this year’s rookies. As you work with your students on embracing change and setting goals for the rest of the school year, share these clips with them.
Sean explains how he got involved with the Iditarod. This segment shows a level of rookie that comes into the race with professional mushing experience. He has taken the talents and skills he gained over time and focused them on the goal of finishing the Iditarod. At 2:58 he is asked about expectations and he explains training and conditioning for success. Students can self-evaluate their skills and talents and set goals for themselves to improve them or use them to achieve something new.
Joanna, a full time pediatric nurse, describes how her lifestyle led her to training for the Iditarod. The way she explains the years and decades it took her to build up to where she is now is inspiration for long term goal setting and perseverance in obtaining those goals. At 4:02 she explains that being cold is a real struggle for her! So she is embracing a lifestyle and challenge that is uncomfortable for her, but the payoffs supersede this, another great point to discuss with students. This clip is also full of pictures of her and her family from the past – a goodo picture of subsistence living. Students can list challenges they may have to overcome to achieve their goals. Add these to their goals plan and have them monitor how they are dealing with any obstacles they may come up against.
Returning rookie Gabe Dunham describes the disappointment she felt when she scratched last year, but then emphasizes the reason being for her dogs and what she learned from her trail experience. And very importantly, she describes the joy in the journey towards her Iditarod finish goal. Discuss with students that sometimes we have to have plan A, B, or C or even set aside our goals for another time; this isn’t a failure, just a “re-set”. Every attempt to achieve a new goal is a chance for learning more about themselves and how they can change what they are doing to be more successful the next time.
SEL lesson ideas:
Have students set their goals for Nome/Willow. Then have them align steps to achieve their goals along the race route. As you follow the race, students can reflect on where they are in achieving their goals and make adjustments as needed.
Students can reflect on the changes they have experienced in their lives, some due to the COVID19 pandemic possibly, and how they have or may have to adapt along with a positive attitude needed to make those changes successful.
Here is a clip from Gabe Dunham in 2020 where she talks about embracing change. She talks about how everything has to be right for the game plan to be executed, mentions factors that can be unpredictable and her strategies for running a race unique to her and her team.