Off the Cuff with Jacqueline Ross | June 2023
I have been so excited composing this column I almost submitted it a few weeks ago! Though, I hit the pause button. I felt there would be more inspiration along the way, so I delayed bringing my art into the world. Speaking of delay, lately, I’ve been reminded that delay does not mean denial. In fact, delay may be just what is needed during this current season of life. Grab a double double from Tim Hortons and a coffee crisp…it’s story time!
As you all remember in May, I celebrated my 734th life! By the end of the month, it really felt like I had. The local motocross community along with myself received sudden and unexpected news, basically an earthquake! Mesa Motocross Park would be closing it’s doors. I was shook and in disbelief. What!?!?…The track where I’ve been training all of my lil and big homies over the last 9 years is locking the doors?! Coaching is my calling, gift, and passion! I am usually at the track more than I am at my home! I mean, I just painted the fence at the track a few months ago!
It took me a few days to process before it actually sunk in. It was so hard for me to accept and wrap my mind around the inevitable. I then came to the realization that my world was about to be turned completely upside down. Needless to say, I shed a lot of tears and took many deep breaths as May came to a close. My present and future were uncertain. The only thing I had clarity with was I knew I was about to be extremely uncomfortable and change was on the horizon. As my Canadian Grandma would tell me in my moments of feeling discouraged, “J-Ro…O ye of little faith.” Shout out to J-Neezy!
We have to rewind for a moment and then we’ll fast forward.
Prior to Mesa closing its doors I had received an opportunity to be an instructor with Fuel Ministry. Fuel Ministry is a trackside ministry that also provides life-changing off-road, motocross, and quad camps throughout the summer. Pretty cool concept here…”Jesus and dirt bikes.” I’m down! I was initially hired to teach at their first off-road summer camp, June 5-9, in Ormond Beach, Fl. I’ve never attended a “Faith” based off-road camp before, let alone taught at one. I was a bit nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect. One thing I did know for certain was, I live my life by faith and my works; therefore, I must be exactly where I am suppose to be.
Now we’ll hit the fast forward button and bring everyone up to speed. I arrive in Ormond Beach for my first Fuel camp. I walk into the cafeteria area and am immediately blown away by the kindness of the staff and all of the volunteers. I then witness the kids sitting at their appropriate tables with their Team leaders. As I am in observation mode, I notice something way out of the ordinary. The kids are actually being kids…all talking to each other, laughing, telling stories, and jokes! No one is on a cell phone or an iPad…WOW! And wait, there’s more! The kids actually have responsibilities and are held accountable…they clean off their plates, throw away their trash, and they even push their chairs in and clean their tables! Did we just teleport back to the 90’s…or should I say the 1900’s as the kids say, nowadays?! I haven’t even eaten my breakfast yet, the kids haven’t started training, but everyone is stoked!
With that being said, the week was a massive success and filled with so much knowledge, training, riding, and fun! The riding, after riding activities, and chapel were absolutely awesome! It was so refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded people and to be in an environment where you feel welcomed, peace, and at home.
Little did I know the camp in Ormond Beach would be just the beginning for me with Fuel Ministry. Since that camp I have gone on a “Fuel Summer Camp Tour” as I call it! I taught at two more camps this month, one in Oklahoma and then in Indiana. The local track closed and Fuel Ministry called…talk about a God Wink!
I’ll close us out with a fun fact… In 2014, while I was working 3 different jobs in the hospitality industry and 60 hour plus work weeks, I started coaching as my “Part-Time Passion project.” Even back then, I had felt called and dreamed of impacting kids from all around the world. In 2017, I launched my first Saturday morning Motocross school. I was so excited and everyone was talking about it and how they couldn’t wait to attend. Guess what?! No one signed up or showed up. I felt discouraged and was devastated (It took me about 6 months to muster up the courage to attempt another one – which was a successful launch to my coaching career).
Fast forward 6 years, to June 2023, I just got home from the last leg of my “Fuel Summer Camp Tour’’ in Indiana. I had the opportunity to work with 118 kids! Good thing I never gave up on my dream when it seemed like it was hopeless.
Moral of the story…dream big, keep the faith, work hard, and never give up!
Thank you so much to Mark & Leslie Nichols for this incredible opportunity. The pastors: Jerry and Mark. Jerry, make sure you keep up with the lettuce program…Haha! All of the Fuel staff, team leaders, interns, and volunteers. To all of the rad kids I’ve worked with over the last three weeks, keep up the awesome attitudes and efforts! Also, thanks to the Drozd and Vallejo family for connecting me with Fuel Ministry. I am forever grateful for you all and already looking forward to next year!
Keep shining, even in the shadows,