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How to Host a Morning Walk: The Board Walks Case Study

Last updated: May 8, 2024

Every Saturday since July 2022, a group of curious people in Austin (of all ages, backgrounds, and careers) have shown up at a coffee shop to go on a 5-mile walk.

For what, you ask? To have energizing conversations, grow as humans, and genuinely connect with people who share a “learn something, teach something” mindset.

In this article, you’ll learn how Elle founded the morning walk and what they are up to today and you can host your own.

Meet Elle

Elle Beecher is the one who started the weekly walk with people in Austin in July 2022, now called The Board Walks.

She loved to bring people together who (accidentally) stay up until 1 AM learning about obscure topics.

That’s why she started hosting weekly walks in Austin — to create a relaxed, open space for energizing conversations.

elle headshot
Elle also loves to meditate and she shares about it on her YouTube channel.

The Board Walks and their Ground Rules

The walk started in 2022 when Elle, along with Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann and Nick Prijic, brought together people from Austin to joining their morning walks.

Every week since July 2022, they would meet up to walk 5 miles and think out loud. As of now, they had done 45 walks and counting.

Be curious and have fun

The intention of their walks is to have engaging, two-sided conversations and share random musings… about what?

Well, that would be up to you! They talk about bonsai farming, how to set boundaries, the perils of iPad tipping, getting fired and starting companies… and everything in between.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to prepare a TED talk; they’re all barely awake and winging it. (Except for the hosts, who have goldendoodle energy.)

Follow the flow

They show up with a “let’s muse together and think out loud” mindset… not a “let me talk at you and ask no questions” mindset.

They feel relaxed, having a good time, and playing conversational Legos – but they don’t know what they’re building until it’s over. (Sometimes, not until weeks later!)

And that’s the coolest part.

Hop in, hop out

They highly encourage people to float into multiple conversations with zero judgment.

Some folks even have a goal of talking to 5+ people each time. Their walks are 5 miles (~2 hours) of organic and unguided conversation – you choose your own adventure.

It might feel awkward to switch at first, but that’s part of the magic: everyone does it, including the hosts.

Lead with empathy

They’re a kind crew of people who care about the impact they have on others.

This is a welcoming space with newcomers on every walk — they have zero tolerance for bullying, discrimination or harassment.

You won’t click with everyone, and that’s okay… no one does! They encourage everyone to treat everyone with respect and be open to gentle feedback.

​Come with insights, not agendas

They don’t allow selling or promoting anything to their community.

They get enough of that from bots on crypto Twitter.

Romance is not in the air

If you think “Huh, the walks might be a good place to find a date!”… please think again.

They will say something if it seems like you approach the walks like a speed dating event.

They have a strict “one reach out, no response, keep it moving” rule. If you shoot your shot and don’t receive a yes, respect the person’s decision and do not try again.

How to Host a Morning Walk

If you’re eager to foster similar connections and energizing discussions in your own community, read on to discover how you can host your own walk meetups.

  1. Start with Passion and Purpose: Elle’s journey began with a simple desire to create a space where people could come together to learn and share. Identify your motivation for hosting walk meetups. Is it to foster connections, exchange knowledge, or promote wellness? Clarifying your purpose will guide your efforts and attract like-minded individuals.
  2. Choose the Right Location: Select a scenic route that offers opportunities for exploration and conversation. Consider accessibility and safety when choosing the starting point and route for your walk meetups.
  3. Establish a Consistent Schedule: Set a regular day and time for your walk meetups to create anticipation and make it easier for participants to plan ahead.
  4. Spread the Word: Utilize social media platforms, local community boards, and word-of-mouth to promote your walk meetups.
  5. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Welcome individuals from all backgrounds, ages, and professions to create a rich tapestry of perspectives and experiences.
  6. Encourage Engaging Conversations: Embrace the “learn something, teach something” mindset by encouraging participants to share their knowledge and experiences.
  7. Foster Connection Beyond the Walk: Provide opportunities for participants to continue their conversations and connections after the walk, such as gathering for coffee or brunch.
  8. Adapt and Evolve: Solicit feedback from participants to continuously improve the experience of your walk meetups.

Photos from their Walks

Conclusion

Friendships and bonds can be found in different ways. Some find it in places like schools and workplaces, others in Social Media platforms. Elle found it during her walks along with great people.

If you are in Austin and their activity sounds exciting to you, you can join them every Saturday, 8AM, at Bennu Coffee on Congress.

Rain or shine, they have been out there every week since July 2022.

Just make sure you follow their ground rules:

  • Be curious and have fun.
  • Follow the flow.
  • Hop in, hop out.
  • Lead with empathy.
  • Come with insights, not agendas.
  • Romance is not in the air.

Or if you want to host your own, remember to start with passion and purpose, just like how Elle did it.

Hello, My name is Nick Gray. In my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I provide helpful guidance on how to host a great party for any event. I wrote this book to support anyone attempting to meet new people and develop closer bonds with their community.

When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

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