To welcome 2021 on the right foot, walk2connect, a cooperative that seeks to build a more human and connected world through walking, is inviting Longmont locals and people across the state to join in a pledge to move.
Dozens of people across the Denver-metro region have made a pledge to take a walk at 1 p.m. New Year’s Day, according to Ana Lucaci, a Longmont resident and a walk2connect owner.
“For this walk, we get together and set intentions or resolutions for the new year. It’s a time to think about the year that is starting ... what does it bring, what does it mean, what do we want it to bring, how to embrace the new year,” she said, adding the tradition started more than five years ago and has been happening every year since in Golden, drawing people from across the region to walk together.
“Last year, 80 people came from all over, including Denver, Longmont, Golden, the north metro area,” she said. “After the walk, we would then get together and go to a brewery or some other place and share a meal, something to celebrate together.”
This year, the mechanics of the walk will look different in response to the coronavirus pandemic and those who pledge will join virtually, doing their walks at the place of their choice and at their own pace, Lucaci said.
“This year getting together is not going to happen because we are doing it virtually, but we invite everyone to walk at 1 p.m., since that used to be the traditional hour for us to get together,” she said. “What is important is to get out there and be present in nature, to bring yourself (out), breathe some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors, enjoy each other's company with a friend or your family.”
Participants will be walking separately, but those who join are invited to share photos and videos of their walks, as well as thoughts they had while out and about.
Walk2connect’s mission is to empower individuals to live the motto “life at 3 mph” and slow down and appreciate the small things, Lucaci said.
“This year, working from home, people have had more time for themselves and the time to appreciate the things around them. That is what we do,” she said.
Cherry Dominguez, a local medical assistant, Zumba instructor and a member of the local chapter of walk2connect, Longmont Walks, has joined walks over the years and has made the pledge to move on New Year’s Day.
“I just love the connection with the community, being able to connect with the outdoors and nature. The feeling of appreciation of what is around us,” she said. “There are so many things that we see differently when we walk versus driving. We sometimes miss a lot.”
After being sick with COVID earlier this year, Dominguez will be using her walk as a time for appreciation and feeling grateful.
“2020 was tough toward the end of the year. ... It’s really kind of pushed me down a little but I’ve (kept up) being positive,” she said. “I’m grateful for my health and well-being and the connections with others as well because I’m not alone. There are others that are going through a lot of this or more.”
While she is still deciding where to go for her walk, Dominguez said she hopes to be joined by a couple more people to welcome the new year.
“I haven’t really decided on a specific site but it will definitely be here in Longmont,” she said. “I’m going with the flow. We’ll see what the next year brings. I’m definitely hoping for something more positive, definitely looking forward to 2021.”
The New Year’s Day walk is just one of many events walk2connect holds for members and for the public, many of which have been adapted to ensure the safety of participants.
“Everything has been moved online … locally we have been creating walks like these throughout the summer or walks in partnership with (the Longmont Downtown Development Authority) every December, except this one,” Lucaci said. “We love just discovering places downtown, it’s amazing how many people don't know these shops or have not been to (some of these places). It gives us an opportunity to see snippets of history, and we love to share that with people.”
The New Year’s Day walk is open to the public and free to join. To register, click here.For more information about walk2connect or how to become a member of the local chapter, visit the website or Facebook page, or contact Lucaci at firstname.lastname@example.org.