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SAP’s vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.  This is demonstrated in many ways throughout the year.  However, come October this vision is acted upon very directly.  SAP employees are given paid time to go into their communities and work on projects that they are passionate about.  The Month of Service helps to ensure employees get out and use this time.  When you have the executive leadership team promoting the events and then rolling up their sleeves beside you at the projects, you know it is for real.  When you have a wide array of projects to choose from there should be something for everyone to get excited about.  It is a great way to catch up with colleagues from your team and beyond.  When you hear about the lives impacted, it is hard not to get swept right in.

 

 

We have so much good stuff going on in Waterloo, Canada for Month of Service we needed to stretch things out a bit.  We opened the month on September 30th with trail day at The Hydrocut.  Likewise the month of service activities will spill into November with a work day on a Habitat for Humanity build in Kitchener.  In between there is mentoring at a hackathon; packing and serving nutritious meals; painting murals; sorting food at the food bank; and the list goes on.  Providing quality opportunities to live an active lifestyle is what I’m passionate about and is what draws me to The Hydrocut.

 

 

TheHydrocut.ca describes The Hydrocut, “The Hydrocut trail system is consistently ranked as one of the top MTB riding destinations in Ontario and is recognized across Canada for its 25 km of continuous singletrack trails with nearly 40,000 visitors per year.   The trails are open and free to the public.  They feature board walks and bridges, switchbacks and “armoured” walls, with fast lines and technical features to challenge the most skilled of riders.”

 

 

The day began in the parking lot with a quick overview of The Hydrocut.

 

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The Hydrocut is managed and maintained by the Waterloo Cycling Club (WCC).  The WCC is run entirely run by volunteers.  The WCC trails committee (“trail crew”) direct the activities of the numerous volunteers who make The Hydrocut what it is.  This includes on-going maintenance such as keeping the the trails clear, emergency safety repairs, and larger events like the SAP trail day where larger upgrades can be undertaken.  The energetic orange shirts that tag the trail crew seem appropriate as they match the energy they have for the trails.  This year we were told the plan was to re-route a small section of Andy’s BBQ Run and fortify a section of Kaitlyn’s Switchbacks and Andy’s BBQ Run that are susceptible to flooding.  It sounded like they were going to take it easy on us this year.  Time to hike in,

 

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With coffee and treats in hand we were toured through the site.  The large pile of “material” and row of wheel barrows made it quite clear that were going to have lots of opportunity to burn off the calories we just consumed.

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And this is where it starts to feel really good to be part of a month of service project.  There was no complaining.  Everyone just found something needing to be done and started working.

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Everyone worked so well together.  People looked for ways to help each other and improve efficiency, switched jobs to avoid injuries, and we flowed around each other in tight quarters.  That isn’t to say there isn’t the occasional bump or tipped wheel barrow (I was involved in one of each 😳 ), but instead of getting flustered, we apologized, figured out what happened, and took action to prevent it from happening again.

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Due to the threat of rain, I brought my waterproof camera for photos.  With the amount of light we had and the pace of the work, the camera had a hard time keeping up.  This made some of photos blurry in places, but I liked the effect so included some.

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Not only were we on a mission to move the truck loads of material that were delivered to the site, we were topping with some of the rich organic material from the forest floor to provide a nicer trail surface.

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With a huge dent in the material and with the sun coming out from behind clouds we were feeling good about out progress.

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At no time did the positive vibe diminish.  There was lots of witty banter.  Colleagues were catching up with one another.  We mused about how IoT (Internet of Things) could be utilized on site.  We learned about the trails and discussed bike safety.  We heard about the many different trail users including the variety of wildlife.  As the trail day came to a close we set out on the return hike.  What started as a questionable day, had turned into a beautiful autumn day.

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Some colleagues were too quick for me, so I don’t have one photo of the entire group, but here are a bunch of us.

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I’m proud of SAP as a company.  But I’m also proud of the individuals that I work with day-to-day.  They are awesome, hard working people who care for each other and our community.

 

The day wasn’t done for me yet.  I went back to help out the trail crew with a few final touches.  On my way back I had a couple of monarch butterfly sightings.  And I saw the first trail user,

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This demonstrates how places like The Hydrocut are important habitat in our efforts to maintain biodiversity.  And of course, with a bike and fresh dry trail, how can I resist laying down some of my own tracks.

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I must thank our partners from the Waterloo Cycling Club who make this event possible.  They are always ready for us.  Their well planned events make full use of our time and energy.  As we are working on the project the trail crew explains what we are doing and why.  When we are done we have an appreciation for trail building and we can understand how our work benefits the trails and the community.

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