Fired up for a safer world

Robert Martin is Vice President of Gavin de Becker & Associates, and is widely regarded as one of the Nation’s leading experts in assessing and managing violently inclined situations.

Happy Birthday Girls Fight Back.  I remember when you were a new-born, only ten years ago.  My, how you have grown – and grown – touching many lives along the way.

In December of 2001, I sent an email to a friend in New Jersey who was looking for top notch safety programs, and my comments included the following:

“…and there is a young woman in Hoboken who teaches what is shaping up to be a very successful women’s self-defense program.  Her name is Erin Weed and she founded a program called Girls Fight Back at www.GirlsFightBack.com.”

“Success” is not always an easy term to define, but presenting to over one million people in ten years has to be on the list somewhere.

A week later, in December of 2001, Erin’s response to a pending conference call spoke volumes about her, she said: “Since I’m relatively new to the game, I’ll probably need someone to take me up to speed…but as Bob can assure you, I’m FIRED up about combating crime, assault, etc….”

And I am FIRED up about watching where the next ten years takes you.

Note from Erin: How in the world did I get someone as amazing and experienced as Bob Martin to drink our GFB kool-aid? Seriously, read his bio and you’ll understand my amazement. Bob has been my friend, advisor, expert and coach, since day one…and somewhere along the line, he also became family. Thanks for being one of our and biggest fans for the longest time…

North Dakota

I am grateful that Minot State and the University of North Dakota opted to bring Students Fight Back to their schools pre-snow season. Now, to be fair, I only fear this because of this movie. In reality, I found North Dakota to be a beautiful place with some of the nicest people I’ve met so far.

My first stop was Minot State…this was just a hop, skip and a jump (otherwise known as 4 hours) form Fargo.  I’m finding that some of the most awesome schools are the ones  hidden in places you wouldn’t expect. Minot had been touched by the tragic loss of student Anita Knutson in 2007, so this was a special program for me.  In addition, the Minot Domestic Violence Crisis Center sponsored “Take Back the Night” immediately following the program. Thank you Keri and all the others involved.

The program went well and we were still able to have fun while discussing a serious topic. Robert Martin, Vice President of Gavin de Becker & Associates, once said that having the ability to laugh even while dealing with violence shows that it doesn’t have power over you. The students, faculty and community of Minot certainly showed that.

My last stop was the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. What a beautiful campus! I always get a little excited driving through college towns…especially when I reach the rows of Fraternity and Sorority houses.  This, combined with the fall leaves and marching band practicing nearby was quite nostalgic. I was so ready for this program!

I met my extremely hard working contact Jason, who graciously volunteered to also be my “scary bad guy”…even after a long day of work and class! 

The program was open to all students, but when the attendees turned out to be all women…we turned up the girl power!  The greek community at UND is awesome! I loved spending some one on one time with them and I’m glad I could show them some helpful ways to be safe and strong.

UND

Camera update:  Still broken…BUT I got a replacement. Then…my luggage didn’t make it. I can’t win! Camera phone- not awesome, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity with these wonderful women.