We drive north on Route 100, passing a cider mill, a health food store, maple product stands, and rolling green hills. We are traveling to the idyllic ski town of Stowe, Vermont, to witness a Positive Tracks Challenge. As we approach the playing field, we see objects scattered about the grass including tires, ropes, and a 7-foot-tall wooden wall. Positive Tracks is a national nonprofit that empowers youth to be a part of the change they want to see in the world. They are able to make a difference for causes that are meaningful to them. Positive Tracks supports these changemakers through mentorship, leadership development, and the power of athletics. Today in Stowe, Positive Tracks is helping Cam Beecy honor his friend Kacy, who he lost to suicide when the two were just 13 years old.
We meet with Cam who explains to us the purpose of today’s Fight for Life event, which he organized with Kacy’s sister, Ava. He says that the challenge is an outdoor obstacle course designed to create conversation and awareness around teen suicide and to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Cam wants others to understand the importance of communicating with someone contemplating suicide—to ease their burden and to help them choose life—so he has challenged the participants to carry a tire through the obstacle course to represent a friend whose life they were saving by helping them carry their burden.
We watch as 88 youth participants make their way through the obstacle course—crawling under nets, sprinting around cones, climbing up and over a wall—all without ever letting go of the tire. Never Losing contact. By the end of the race, everyone has made sure that the “friends” they carried made it to the finish line.
With Cam leading the charge, the event helped 88 young individuals be better prepared when they notice peers struggling with mental illness. And all of this was made possible with support from Positive Tracks.
As we pack up to head down the road to our next Road Trip destination, we are left with Cam’s final words: “The world belongs to the next generation. The time to create change is now.”
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