Home » Columns, Pastimes

What Does Chris Franklin Like to Do When She Is Not Serving as ASA’s K–12 Statistical Ambassador?

1 May 2019 1,209 views No Comment

Christine Franklin
Photo by Eric Sampson/ASA

Who are you, and what is your statistics position?

I am currently serving as the ASA K–12 Statistical Ambassador. I am an advocate for promoting statistical literacy and reasoning at the school level. Most of my academic career was spent focusing on teaching, writing, research, and professional service in statistics education at the K–16 level.

I retired from the University of Georgia in 2016 after 36 years as faculty in statistics at the post-secondary level. I have been fortunate to enjoy every day of my career and to collaborate with amazing colleagues and mentors who inspired me to keep statistics education as a priority for our profession.

Tell us about what you like to do for fun when you are not being a statistician.

I am passionate about running, reading mystery novels, attending and scoring baseball games, and my favorite hobby: hiking and backpacking.

What drew you to this hobby, and what keeps you interested?

I grew up on a farm near the mountains of NC and have always been an avid outdoors person. In high school, I started discovering the joys of hiking and backpacking, especially on the Appalachian Trail. When my husband, Dale, and I married, we spent four weeks driving across the US, visiting national parks and national forest areas and camping, hiking, and backpacking. My ‘wedding trip’ was spent sleeping on the ground in a tent. As our two boys (Corey and Cody) became part of the family, through their growing up years, many family vacations centered on hiking and backpacking. Both of my sons became involved with scouting, starting out as Tiger Cubs. They advanced through the ranks of Cub Scouting, then joined the Boy Scouts and both earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Christine Franklin with her sons, Corey and Cody, at Philmont, New Mexico, in 2012
Photo Courtesy of Christine Franklin

A big component of scouting is hiking and backpacking, and the dream place for hiking and backpacking is Philmont, New Mexico. When crews are selected to take a 10-day backcountry trek in Philmont, the crews consist of several scouts and 2–4 adult leaders. Dale and I both served as adult leaders for different treks through the years our sons were part of crews.

The preparation for these treks began a year in advance, with the crews taking pre-hikes (for us, mostly on the Georgia part of the Appalachian Trail). The crews learned how to work together as a team with cooking, putting up bear bags, packing backpacks, and physically getting into shape. It is a commitment to make a trek to Philmont. The treks I have taken ranged from 75–90 miles over the 10 days.

I first went to Philmont in 2004 and then again in 2006 with all male scouts and my older son, Corey, as part of the crews. In 2012, I went as the only female adult leader in a venture scout crew—both male and female scouts. This trip was special for two reasons: having female scouts as part of the crew and having both my sons as part of the crew. I treasure the photo of me with my sons on top of Baldy Mountain at over 12,000 feet—the highest point in Philmont.

This third trip was also memorable because I became ill the day we arrived at Philmont; I experienced hyponatremia, or ‘water intoxication.’ I was hospitalized that night. Fortunately, I convinced the doctors to release me the next day, although I was quite weak. The crew left that day for the trail. I witnessed a crew coming together to take care of one of its members; they took my backpack and distributed my belongings to carry in their packs so I would have little weight to carry. They did this the first three days of hiking, until I gained back my strength.

My fourth trip to Philmont was to happen in June 2018. Dale and I volunteered to serve as adult leaders for another venture crew (four females and one male). This would be the first time Dale and I hiked in Philmont together on the same trek and without either one of our boys as part of the crew. After preparing for a year and excitedly anticipating a return trip to Philmont, we received word that Philmont was canceling all the summer 2018 treks due to the wildfires. The crew quickly made the decision to still go west; we were a team that had prepared for this adventure and we would figure out an alternative.

Christine Franklin at Yellowstone in 2018
Photo Courtesy of Dale Green

We decided to travel to Yellowstone National Park. We had no reservations and it was too late to obtain them, but we decided we would go and take everything day by day. The trip turned out to be one of the most thrilling and gratifying 10-day hiking and backpacking trips I have experienced. The Yellowstone rangers and workers were extremely helpful in assisting the crew with getting the necessary permits. And the scouts stepped up in the leadership department as they planned each day as it came.

Hiking and backpacking (and running) is a part of my core being. These hobbies keep me connected to the outdoors. I have experienced incredible places all over the world that can only be accessed by going into the backcountry. I look forward to the physical challenges; it keeps me young. It is magical to go off the grid, focused on nature and coexisting with others, often for days at a time. The greatest reward is the camaraderie and long-lasting bonds built among the fellow hikers, especially the scouts throughout the years. These friendships are irreplaceable.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Comments are closed.