When I was in high school, running camp was the highlight of my summer. As a younger kid, I never went to day camp or sleep away camp, and I can’t say I ever really wanted to. But when my teammates showed up to practice at the end of my freshman year spring season with applications for all of us to go to Running Works I was all in. That year had been my introduction to the awesome things running could be for me (check out my first post for the start of that year). I was anxious to do anything that would make running more a part of my life. That August, we headed up to the Poconos for a week of incredible trails, great coaching, a lot of new friends, and amazing memories.
I continued going to Running Works each summer until I graduated high school, when I was pretty upset that I was too old. Then last summer I got the opportunity to go back to camp, as a counselor. I ran into some of my old counselors out in Oregon at the Olympic Trials and the next thing I knew I was on my way back to the Poconos. Being a counselor is just as fun, if not more, than being a camper. I’ve said it before about my college teammates and about the Oiselle women, but it is just really cool to be surrounded by so many people that are so passionate about the sport.
I think that is a big reason why I want to be a high school coach some day. Of course, I’d like to use the education degrees that I worked on for five years and therefore the high school level makes the most sense, but I also think high school is such an important time for young athletes to be inspired. My college coaches played a major role in my running career, but I wouldn’t have even gotten to them if I hadn’t had my high school experience.
Roxbury and the neighboring towns are even fortunate enough to have youth track programs. I was a volunteer coach for Roxbury’s youth team when I was in high school and it was a great low key way to introduce younger kids to track and field. So between volunteering in town years ago, and being a running camp counselor recently, I feel like I get so excited to show young athletes what the running lifestyle could be for them if they love it enough to put in the hard work.
In less than a week I will be heading back to the Poconos once again. I’m excited to see (and hopefully be part of inspiring) young runners getting started on their journeys, dreaming big about what running will be for them.