You may find it strange when I tell you that in three weeks I will be part of a 12 person team that will run 200 miles from Cannon Mountain to Hampton Beach through the mountainous roads of New Hampshire.
I know, I don't immediately come across as the athletic type. Let's just say I'm more of a Clydesdale than a greyhound. I personally will be running just around a half-marathon, split up into three legs of 4 to 5 miles each. I am honored and privileged (and a bit intimidated) to be running the final leg and to get to cross the finish line for my team in Hampton.
Let's not kid around here - you guys know me! I'm not a natural runner, though I'd like to be. I am awed by those people out there who run marathons, do triathlons - let's be honest, a 5K is a challenge for me and honestly I consider it a personal victory if I finish in less than twice the official time of the winner.
There are very few reasons I'd ever call attention to my running. I typically try to fade into the woodwork at the gym and when I run outside it's on side streets where I can be anonymous. Yet now I am putting my running out there - and humbly asking for your financial support (if possible) this time because this is a run I am undertaking as a fundraiser for a place that had a huge impact on my development as a young adult, was instrumental in building many of my lifelong friendships, and continues to have a huge impact on the person I am today.
Camp Calumet is a place where kids get to be kids, and grow in their understanding of friendship, community, acceptance, understanding, spirituality, and goodwill. It's a place where labels are shed and everyone is welcome, accepted and made to feel valued and loved.
It is a magical place.
Calumet operates a day camp in the inner city in which I have taught for the past 20 years (Worcester). Through funds raised by the Reach the Beach fundraiser (among others), underprivileged children from the city are given a fully funded opportunity to spend a week or two on the shores of the beautiful Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire and have the same experience that I did back when I was a camper twenty seven years ago - which in many ways feels just like yesterday because of the friends, memories, and life lessons I carry with me to this day from my three years as a camper and three years on staff at Calumet.
I participated in this relay once before - (I wasn't much of a runner back then, either) and was able to take comfort in the fact that although I wasn't the strongest, best, or fastest runner on the team, I raised the most money for the cause. That in itself served as inspiration during my overnight run, and gave me the strength to keep going when my legs and my lungs said no. Sending kids to Calumet is a cause close to my heart and I'm grateful for the 11 other members on my relay team because if I had to, I just might attempt to tackle the whole 200 miles myself for the cause!
If you have the means - and the inclination - I'd be extremely grateful for any support you could offer to help me raise money to send kids to Camp Calumet. Believe me - it's an investment in our future leaders that will pay off beyond measure.
Thank you for your support... on behalf of the kids - many of whom I see in my classroom every day - who need a place like Calumet in their lives.