This month, I had the honor of interviewing Mrs. Elizabeth Goff. She is one of the great difference makers whom I am proud to call my friend.
Ms. Goff is currently teaching our 9th grade freshmen at American Canyon High School (ACHS). Now in her 16th year of teaching, she started out at American Canyon Middle School. While there, she started the WEB program at ACMS. In this program, the 7th and 8th graders mentor the incoming 6th graders.
In 2010, as ACHS was opening, she decided to make her contribution by being part of the core faculty helping get the school started. When she arrived at ACHS, she told the school, "Whatever you need me to do to get this school up and running, I'm in!"
She started many programs at our high school, including one well-respected program called LinkCrew. It is a similar model to WEB in which the upperclassmen mentor the incoming 9th graders. She was the first teacher of many programs, including Leadership, Key Club, and Volleyball - yes, volleyball, too!
Throughout our conversation, her love for our city, our schools and our kids were just bubbling out of her. Read on and learn about this amazing go-giver who impacts our next generation and their families everyday.
How long have you lived in American Canyon?
It's been 11 years. We (including her husband, Andrew, also a teacher at ACHS) moved here in 2005 from Napa.
What is your favorite park or open space, and why?
It's definitely the Mike Thompson Hike and Bike Trail. I was serving on our City's Parks and Recreation Commission when it opened so I was there at the dedication. I also was updated on the bird count each year, which allowed me to see first hand how the restoration was improving each day. Each year, we hold our annual Reindeer Run the first Saturday of December. I get to see families, residents, and visitors kick off the holiday season in a beautiful place. I also like to run, walk, and bike on the trail throughout the year.
Can you tell us a story about your favorite park-related memory?
Oh yes! (as her face just lit up) My best memory is at Fuller Park in Napa. When I was about 4 or 5, my mom would take me there when all of my siblings were in school. I remember all the beautiful trees and the huge slide. Then, we would go to Dairy Queen for the best hot dog on earth!
If you could visit any National Park, where would you go and why?
It would be Voyageur National Park (Minnesota). We were there in in 2003. It is 2/3 water and named after the French trappers. It has the biggest sky I have ever seen! It is full of eagles. We went kayaking for miles. I still give to the Friends of Voyageur every year so when I can return it will still be there. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Right now it is running. It is really the only chance I get to be outside and just enjoy the air and view. When I was younger, I played softball, soccer, and ran track. I just don't get outside as much as I would like to anymore.
If you could be any piece of outdoor play equipment, what would you be and why?
Swings! Who doesn't want to fly?!
What are the benefits you see to being outdoors?
Fresh air, connecting with the earth. When you look around and really look, you can see that things are happening that have nothing to do with money, technology, or who you are. It puts things in perspective and it grounds you. Most things you see outside will outlast you.
What would you like to tell future generations about parks and health?
Go outside! Realize that you a small part of a much larger picture. You are significant, but play such a small part in the whole.
What is your vision for parks in American Canyon?
I would love to see our parks connect our residents more. Build Watson Ranch as a walking and biking community. Revise out roadways so they are pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I think more people would be out walking and riding if that were the case. I live 1.5 miles from where I work but don't feel comfortable biking. If there were designated bike lanes across the city, I wouldn't hesitate.
Why did you choose to support the American Canyon Community and Parks Foundation by becoming a member?
Well, that's a no-brainer. I want to help lay the foundation to create parks that will outlast me. I want residents to always have great parks here. So, while I'm still around, I want to ensure, as best as I can, that it will happen.
Being a youth supporter myself, I couldn't resist asking her this question.
Why do you do all that you do for our kids?
(Lots of loving emotion here) Because we've got such awesome kids here in American Canyon. I love our schools and seeing how our kids become leaders and give back into our community is something I would not trade. You cannot get me to teach anywhere else but right here in American Canyon. Everyday I wake up and feel so lucky to live the life that I have doing what I love.
It would be hard to have a bad day hanging around Ms. Goff. I wouldn't have traded spending our time together! Thank you for all you do for our schools, our city and the ACCPF family. You are loved by your students.
Here's wishing you yet another amazing school year as you help develop leaders and thinkers in our city.