MacInnis talks optimism
Motivational speaker Jeff MacInnis tells St. Joseph's High School students how optimism and perseverance helped when travelling through the Northwest Passage and surviving the 2001 Eco-Challenge in Borneo, on Tuesday. PHOTO: CHERYLBROWNE/BARRIEEXAMINER
Optimism is massively important but mindset is everything.
Professional speaker and adventurer Jeff MacInnis drummed this message into the hearts and minds of 700 students at St. Joseph’s High School during his slide presentation of conquering the Northwest Passage and competing in the 2001 Eco-Challenge.
“With winds blowing 140 kilometres/hour and waves as high as this gym, this tiny, little ice screw saved our lives,” MacInnis said, holding up a six-inch screw.
“This one idea saved our lives. All because a guy said bring this along and we listened to him and the 130 other people who gave us information and advice,” MacInnis said.
Hunkering down in their tent for 12 hours after pushing their catamaran for 14 hours across two kilometres of jagged ice floes in the Arctic, MacInnis and crewmate Mike Beedell were able to stay in place thanks to the tiny ice screw.
MacInnis and Beedell were the first humans to achieve the 400-year-old challenge of traversing the Northwest Passage over the course of 100 days in an 18-foot catamaran.
It wasn’t MacInnis’ and Beedell’s photos of bison and polar bears – and their proximity –that encouraged the teenagers, but his words of empowerment for finding a goal and working towards it that resonated with the crowd.
“It was a message our generation needed to hear,” said Taj Crozier, 17, St. Joe’s student council president. “A lot of us give up at this point (high school) and I feel the more we hear about setting our goals, the more we’ll work towards it and the better the end result will be.”
MacInnis is well-known for his motivational presentations to corporations and that’s where St. Joe’s parent Clementine Peacock heard him.
Going through a difficult time as her mother, Angelica Manzone, lived her last days at Hospice Simcoe, Peacock wanted to pass on MacInnis’ message to students.
“My mother’s legacy was she never gave up. And when I heard Jeff speak, I wanted to help start a movement, to help empower young kids,” Peacock said Tuesday morning.
MacInnis spoke at St. Joe’s for free, yet the students will donate $2 each on Friday towards a donation to Hospice Simcoe.
Peacock is planning to partner with Georgian College and local French school Collège Boréal to bring MacInnis’ message to more students.
“This is part of our attaining visibility in the community,” said Mylène Feytout-Eward of Collège Boréal. “He has presented this to adults in the corporate world, but our thinking is, the kids of today need this the most.”
For more information, visit excellenceevents.com.