Donna’s Walk Across America – Update!

Donna’s 7 month journey is underway. As of today she is somewhere in Idaho. Along the way, she picked up a dog and now has a walking companion! After her start in Oregon, she says some days are more challenging then others. Her goal is to walk approximately 20 miles a day. But as many people know, the Midwest is filled with fields of wheat and corn and probably not the most entertaining things to look at for 20 miles. So some days she walks further than others.

A week or two ago she sent us a tumbleweed! Straight from the streets Oregon! Her daily Facebook and blog posts keep us updated on her whereabouts and what she’s seeing!

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Walking Across America

From our Facebook Page, one of our members is walking across AMERICA!!

“The Wheeler Y is proud to support member Donna Stokes as she prepares to embark on the adventure of a lifetime! This April, Donna will fly to Oregon with minimal supplies, a great pair of sneakers, and a whole lot of drive and determination in order to spend the next six months crossing America on foot. Please follow her blog at and ‘like’ her Facebook page, Donna’s Walk Across America. We will also be holding some fun fitness challenges relating to Donna’s walk in the coming months!”

It is with a heavy heart…

Yesterday afternoon, one of our young members passed away after suffering from a severe asthma attack. It was a heartbreaking moment felt all around Wheeler, but watching this community come together has been such an amazing thing to witness. We take everyday for granted, and as many of the Facebook posts on the families page say, we can’t even imagine the loss his family feels. The Buckley family are some of our “regulars”. Ben, his twin brother Adam, and their older sister Madison were three kids that everyone here knows. Ben has touched the lives and hearts of many and we can only hope that we can help his family heal. Ben was an amazing young boy and he will truly be missed. #prayersforben #buckleystrong

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Having your day made, because you made someone else’s day.

Winter I is the first time here at Wheeler we are running Sports of All Sorts with kids ages 3-6. I’m going to be honest, I was really skeptical at first because for it only being a three year age difference, the skill level is very different. One of the objectives of this class is to also introduce the kids to different sports that aren’t your everyday soccer and basketball. So, of course the first week I started with everyone’s favorite soccer. I know, somewhat lame considering the objective of the class but it really helped let the kids get to know each other and for me to get to know their skill levels. Let me tell you, for 3-6 year olds, these are some pretty advanced and athletic kids.

This week I took them rock climbing. Now, kids either are terrified to climb to the top of the wall, or they climb up without any problem and refuse to climb down. One child in my class has attempted the rock wall before with his parents and the first issue (being terrified to climb up) was what he dealt with. But this time around, Bryson climbed to the top of the wall without any problems whatsoever. His mother was so impressed and this morning after I worked out, she made sure to tell me that not only was she overjoyed that I was the one instructing the class, but that Bryson made sure to tell everyone that he climbed the wall and he hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Now classes are on Wednesday at 530 and when his mom stopped me it was today, which is Friday.

That is the part of the story where Bryson and his mom’s day was made, my day was made because not only did a little boy get over a fear, he made sure he told everyone, he even waited until his dad got home from work that night to tell him!

Something I pride myself in with my classes is making sure that everyone has an extremely positive experience, even if they aren’t the superstar, I still want them to walk away having a great time and even learning something along the way. For Bryson, it was learning that he can climb our 25 foot climbing wall and that it isn’t as scary as he thought (even if we do have a dragon that lives on the other side of the wall). And for his mom it was the pride in seeing her son accomplish something he was scared of.

As tedious as it can be somedays keeping up with the kids in classes and staying on your toes week after week, it’s these little moments that help keep me working hard and working intentionally to make sure every kids that comes through our programs here, has an equally positive experience.