Before she did that, she explained that this offensive-sounding acronym is actually a compliment.
Loeffler, an adventurer and professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland's school of human kinetics and recreation, was the keynote speaker at Friday’s session of the Newfoundland and Labrador Physical Education Special Interest Council’s conference held this week in Corner Brook.
In keeping with the conference’s theme of the importance of students participating in outdoor physical activities, Loeffler reflected on her own childhood. She said it is important for young people to have “significant adult people,” or SAPs, to help show them how to enjoy physical activity in an outdoor setting.
“When you mix time outdoors with SAPs, amazing things turn out,” said Loeffler, who attempted to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2007 and again in 2010.
“How did I end up with the skills and attitudes to take on Mount Everest? I looked back on my childhood and realized I had several SAPs. One was my dad. Many of them were teachers.”
Growing up in Alberta, Loeffler did a lot of playing outdoors as a kid and her family regularly participated in a wide range of activities in the great outdoors. In high school, the outdoor pursuits class she took helped paved the way for her passion for the incredible physical and mental challenges of mountain climbing.
“If you only have the actions without a plan, you waste a lot of time and energy along the way.” - T.A. Loeffler
Loeffler, who has successfully climbed many of the world’s highest peaks, never got to the top of the highest mountain in the world, but said having the goal of getting there and trying to accomplish that goal were perhaps more important.
Looking out at the dozens of physical education teachers listening intently to her, Loeffler told them it was teachers like them that made her believe in herself and have the confidence to visualize and pursue her dreams.
She said these teachers can not only pursue their own goals, but can inspire their students to do the same.
No matter what their proverbial summit is, Loeffler urged the teachers to identify it, make a plan for how to go about achieving it and then take the actions necessary to make it happen.
“If you only have the view, you don’t get any closer to it,” she said. “If you only have the actions without a plan, you waste a lot of time and energy along the way.”