Making an Impact and Giving Back

Making an Impact and Giving Back

It is always interesting how a chance encounter can set a person on an amazing path and completely change the trajectory of many lives as a result. The news is always full of what is going wrong in the world, but there are just as many things that are going right, but we don’t hear about them. Take for example the story of Puravida, a company with values that resonate with our own here at Northern Toboggan Co.

A Chance Meeting

Nearly 20 years ago two newly graduated college students from California took a trip to Costa Rica which changed their lives and eventually those of hundreds of other people around the world. While drinking in the beauty of the country, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman happened to meet a couple of bracelet artisans during their travels.

Like many of the people they encountered, Jorge and Joaquin were humble, appreciative of the simple things in life. The bracelets they made were beautiful. Griffin and Paul felt these tiny pieces of art “seemed to capture the essence of their journey.” They purchased 400 bracelets to take home. This inconsequential exchange led to life-changing events.

From Chance Encounter to World Wide Impact

Throw a stone in the water and the energy created turns ripples into waves. This is about how things went when Griffin and Paul deposited the bracelets in a bowl at a local boutique. Only a few days passed before people were asking for more.

Margaret Mead is credited with the saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Paul and Griffin may not have changed the world per se; however, for Jorge, Joaquin and many others, that’s exactly what they did. The demand for these beautiful handcrafted bracelets led to the creation of Puravida, which now promotes the work of hundreds of artisans throughout the world.

Shared Lessons

One small act resulted in the creation of enterprise and opportunity for hundreds. The Puravida story resonated with us here at Northern Toboggan because not only are we dedicated to preserving the creation of handcrafted toboggans for recreational and sports use. We also have a deeper passion that reaches far beyond our home of Northern Minnesota. Deep in the Northwest Territories, in the Arctic, live communities of Dene people. We invite you to read about our trip to visit them (blog posts from Jan-April 2017).

Over the years the Sled Maker has built great and lasting relationships. Our trip gave us an immersion to their culture.  The lessons we learned from the Dene and their humble, graceful way of living close to the earth shall never be forgotten. We learned gratitude for just “being” and having the opportunity to be a part of something greater than ourselves. We learned about living “on the land” and what it means to live in sync with mother earth where she provides sustenance for daily living.

Toboggan crafting is a dying art in the NWT, yet, toboggans are still used in a traditional manner by people of the Arctic below the tree line.  Centuries of crafting toboggans by hand will have gone by the wayside and the techniques used for hundreds of years will become extinct altogether. Part of the mission of NTCo is to help the Dene people sustain their traditional way of life. We invite you to learn more about this tradition and our mission to sustain tradition and a slice of Dene culture.

1 comment

Write a comment


What a great story. Yes, one ripple can have such a huge impact! NTC’s mission is to be admired and respected. It is a ripple in our universe’

Write a comment

Comments are moderated