DSMA Connect Series: Connected in Motion

On February 3, 2013 by Cherise Shockley
The diabetes community is an amazing group of people.  We have a lot of charitable, not for profits that founded by people with diabetes.  Today, I have the honor of having a Q&A session with Jen Hanson, BKin, BEd, MEd, OCT, Connected in Motion.  Jen is a fire ball full of positive energy, and Connected in Motion is a great organization (located in Canada) that is doing great things for the diabetes community.

DSMA:  What is Connected in Motion?  When was it founded?
Jen: Connected in Motion is an organization, an initiative and an idea. Founded by people with Type 1 diabetes FOR people with Type 1 diabetes, we are ‘Breathing fresh air into diabetes education’ using outdoor adventure and physical activity. Focused on serving young adults and adults with Type 1 diabetes, as well as their families and friends, CIM caters to the needs of this population in unique ways, filling a gap that existed in diabetes programming in Canada prior to CIM’s creation in 2009.

DSMA: How would you describe Connected in Motion?

Jen: Connected in Motion is a network of like-minded individuals, looking to get outside, get active, share experiences, learn from one another and have some fun!  CIM activities cater to the wants, needs and interests of the Type 1 diabetes (even if we didn’t know we wanted or needed or were interested in some of the activities before we have tried them!) CIM has given me a new outlook on what it means to have Type 1 diabetes – It’s like a VIP card into a really cool community of exceptional individuals.

DSMA: What is the target audience for Connected in Motion?

Jen: CIM was founded by people with Type 1 diabetes, for people with Type 1 diabetes. Originally focused on the young adults (18-30) community, the organization has expanded and dropped the upper age limit. If you feel like you want to participate in the activities we have going on, we want to meet you, to hang out with you, to get to know you, and to introduce you to some peers you may have otherwise never met. CIM has also run several youth events in partnership with other organizations including Riding on Insulin and the Canadian Diabetes Association. Our main focus, however, remains on adults.


DSMA:  What is a Slipstream?

Jen: slip•stream\slip-strēm\ noun:
1. the airstream generating reduced air pressure and forward suction directly behind a rapidly moving person with diabetes
2. to ride in the slipstream of a fast-moving person with diabetes
3. the momentum that created Connected in MotionConnected in Motion creates a ‘slipstream’ for people living with diabetes.

Since CIM was founded, a giant gap in both community and T1 education has been filled in Canada. CIM’s programming is far removed from the hospital support groups that seem to be so common. It functions around OUR (the group’s) interests and around experiential, peer-based education.

We learn so much more as a group.

Our big, annual events are called ‘Slipstream’ weekends. The ideas centers around the slipstream that is created as a group of cyclists travel together. When traveling as a group, we can take turns breaking the resistance, breaking trail at the front of the group. As a group, we can travel faster, further and be stronger. It makes the experience of living with T1 easier, more rewarding.

DSMA: How do you register to participate in a Connected in Motion event?

Jen: The first step towards registering for a CIM event is to find out what we have to offer! Connected in Motion events are advertised most prominently through word of mouth, social media and our website. Our facebook page (www.facebook.com/connectedinmotion) is our biggest forum for conversations both about CIM events and about life with diabetes in general.

Registration for CIM events happens online, although we are always willing to help people register via phone or mail!

In November, we honoured  World Diabetes Day, CIM hosted a Diabetes-themed Photo Scavenger Hunt. The event was made available for groups to participate in, regardless of what city you live in! Packages were mailed to team ‘captains’ with detailed instructions. Teams had the chance to travel around their own communities taking photos to answer the scavenger hunt clues (For Example: Find the snack that would require the biggest bolus). Photos were uploaded  online and shared with the entire Type 1 community! We hope to have teams participate across Canada, the United States and, hey, maybe even the WORLD as we attempt to spread awareness about life with Type 1 diabetes within our communities. (More info at:http://www.facebook.com/events/274532249320662/ Website Page coming soon!)


DSMA:  What are three fun facts about Connected in Motion?

Jen:  Connected in Motion events aren’t just for athletes. They aren’t just for extreme adventurers. They aren’t just for avid outdoorsmen (and women!) Each event that we host, develop and facilitate is borne out of the interests of our communities. The Type 1 community drives the direction of the organization, always keeping us on our toes and our adventures flowing!

2. Nearly every person involved with Connected in Motion has Type 1 diabetes. Our photographer has Type 1. Our Board of Directors have Type 1. Our film maker has Type 1. Our staff have Type 1. We always look to our own community first when trying to fill a need of the organization. There are some talented folks out there! We also have some amazing 5.5ers working with us too! What is a 5.5er (okay, so it might not make a lot of sense to our friends south of the border who use mg/dL instead of mmol/L)? Check it out HERE!

3. At our last Winter Slipstream event in Ontario, participants brought with them over 775 years of Type 1 experience with them! Check out the Event Blog and the Event Video (our favourite one yet!)


If you would like to learn more about Jen and how to get involved with Connected In Motion, you can listen to the archive episode of DSMA Live with Jen by  Downloading the MP3 (~15MB), grab the podcast via iTunes, or by clicking here.

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