We drove from Laramie straight to Bozeman on Tuesday night. Karen, our GPS, said we only had a few more minutes in the car. This was a major relief after such a long drive. We drove through downtown Bozeman, then through what we thought was the outer edge of town. Karen informed us we still had around 5.2 miles to go.
“Bozeman must be bigger than we thought” ran through our minds as we kept following Karen’s arrow. We began to question her as the buildings began thinning out. Side-by-side downtown restaurants and shops turned into spacious strips malls, which then turned into houses, and finally plots of land. Sidewalks turned to grass. Still more distance to go.
In .7 miles, turn right onto Baxter Lane.
As we approached the road, we noticed a barn, a thin paved road, and a few old vehicles in a yard. We don’t have our own picture, but here’s Google’s street view for the location.
This didn’t seem right. We checked the address. 1023 Baxter Lane. The road sign matched up with the direction. We guessed we’d go for it. After all, the website had said they were brand new–maybe Bozeman was just expanding and the Homewood Suites were just the new pioneers of the area.
As we drove down the street, certain there was nothing short of magic that could make a hotel appear where our GPS was leading us, we saw the remaining distance count down. 300 ft. 200 ft. 100 ft.
Arriving at destination on the left.
Liar. Here’s where Karen led us:
A quick call to the front desk produced a few laughs and a solution. Apparently we weren’t the first travelers to end up at that field. After some human-to-human directions, we arrived at the real Homewood Suites and got read for our Bozeman display the next morning.
As we pulled on to campus around 7:15AM, we were greeted by our largest group of volunteers yet. This Active Minds chapter is only two semesters old, but we could clearly see they’ve got their act together.
After a speedy (and windy) set-up, we were excited to see not only interactions with students, but with members from other organizations around the community. We got to spend time at the display with people like Matt Kuntz from NAMI Montana, lots of friendly volunteers from one of our sponsors, Cellular One, the KBZK news station, and various others.
As great as it is bringing the display to different chapters, it’s especially great when we find that the chapter has something extra planned. The Bozeman chapter had a 27 minute video called “The Truth About Suicide” to be shown the next day, followed by a panel of speakers. While we weren’t able to attend this event the next day due to our travels, we’re sure it was a helpful and informative event based on the interest we saw building for it throughout the display.
We talk about how involved the community is in a lot of our posts. It’s hard not to sound repetitive, but community is what makes this display so special. At the end of the day, a woman passing through campus and saw the display. She looked moved as she read through several stories before silently stopping at our resource table. Soon she shared that she had once attempted suicide when she was in high school and that she wished that there was something like this back then. She went on to express how she was really happy to see it now. After spending some more time together talking about Active Minds, Send Silence Packing, and her own story, she took a moment to write a message in our journal:
“You may be the one person who sees. Even if you are afraid of being wrong, it’s better than being silent and being wrong about that.” –Heather
If you attended this display, please take a moment to complete a survey, thank you.