We are excited to announce our June Footpath Friend of the Month, Eric Olson! As a member of our Advisory Board and multiple Footpath Volunteer Committees, Eric has been a key team member since the beginning of Footpath. Eric and his wife, Joyce, have sponsored many at-risk children so they can attend summer camp, showing how much they are committed to Footpath’s mission of helping kids discover their fullest potential through nature.
In addition to this, Eric has been an instrumental mentor to our Board, volunteers at various Footpath programs, and has participated in each fundraiser Footpath has held through the years. Most recently, Eric helped obtain a large in-kind donation from Cabela’s of 70 fishing poles for the Footpath Nature Club! These Footpath Kids were so excited and the entire Footpath Team is very thankful for all of Eric’s efforts.
Footpath’s co-founder Sarah Tabeling says, “Eric consistently shares words of wisdom, gives practical advice and inspires action which has helped Footpath grow tremendously in three short years. Thank you Eric, for your passionate encouragement, expert knowledge and continuous generosity.”
We asked Eric about himself and what keeps him inspired:
“I support Footpath because I believe in its mission. Kids need nature. Enriching their lives with outdoor experiences builds healthy bodies, minds and a strong inner self. It centers their inner spirit that builds hope, resiliency, and an understanding of the natural world and its diversity.
My favorite outdoor activity is cycling. I am not a road biker, but love to ride Rails-to-Trails bike paths. We have taken a number of cycling trips throughout the US and two bike trips in Europe. Being outside is exhilarating. It centers my thoughts and lifts my spirit. Nothing beats a long walk along a sandy beach to bring out those feelings.
I grew up in Northern Michigan. My whole life as a young person growing up was centered on being outdoors. Whether it was snow skiing, swimming, fishing, hunting, camping, sailing, beach parties or sports. They’re all good memories. I would love to try surfing, too. My favorite vacation spot is Sleeping Bear National Lake Shore along Lake Michigan. I love the fall, but my favorite season is summer. We spend our summer in Northern Michigan. We are the most active physically and have great fun with family and friends.
Footpath touches me in many ways. I get to help my daughter Mary, co-founder/President & CEO of Footpath, and get to babysit my two granddaughters when she is out and about working on Footpath projects. But here is a quick story that really connects me to Footpath: I recently helped take two groups of kids from the Lorain Boys and Girls Clubs fishing. I was chatting with a 10-year old girl as I untangled her line. She was so excited and said to me, “I love to fish. But I haven’t been able to fish since my dad died a few years ago. This reminds me of being with him.” That conversation hooked me on all the good Footpath does for children. Reel me in!”