Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Opportunities

It time for two things – Mitch to decide on his running goals for 2014 and for the kickoff of the annual YMCA Campaign.  I’m combining the two (for the fifth year) and time to dust off the blog keyboard.

I was going to write about how I got started running but I've already told that story (click here). Then I was going to write about why I am so passionate about the Y but I've done that too (click here and here for two of my favorite stores).  While discussing the 2014 YMCA Campaign my friend Sam he asked something that struck me ...  “Did they have the opportunity?”

I often think about the choices we made around raising our kids - are they ready for overnight camp, which soccer team, and even where to live for good schools?  We always strive to teach our kids to make good decisions.  Including us saying "make good choices" when they leave the house.

I frequently read articles or hear stories about kids that didn't always make good choices.  One recently really troubled me since the kid was the same age as my daughter and his story had the most tragic ending.  These situations include drug use, robbery, jail time and worse. I tend to wonder what choices they made that led them down that path.  More importantly, what can I do to prevent someone else from choosing that path.

Sam's question explained something that I hadn't thought about - did these kids have the opportunity to make good choices or even any choice at all?  Or were they in a situation where they had no choice and took the only path available?

That's what I want to provide to every youth in Tulsa through the YMCA... the opportunity for these kids. Give them an opportunity to play on a soccer team. Give them an opportunity to learn to swim. Give them an opportunity to attend summer camp and even become a camp councilor.  Give them an opportunity to become a community leader.  Give them an opportunity to help others.

We all know people who attended YMCA programs on scholarships and I'm glad to say I have had an opportunity to work with many of these great people and look forward to it every day.  One of the proudest moments in my life I was talking to a friend about raising money for YMCA camp and he said "Camp Takatoka!  I was a scholarship kid.  It changed my life forever." I knew then I was doing the right thing.  This is why I run.  This is why I support the YMCA.

With a lot of your help I was able to raise enough money last year to send 6 kids to summer camp, 20 kids to day camp, 60 kids swimming lessons, or put 120 kids on sports teams.  I plan to exceed that amount this year.

My plan for 2014 is similar to last year's - I will donate $1 for every mile I run (with a 1000 mile target).  I will also ask my family and friends to support me by donating at least $50 for me to complete another 50 mile run this summer.

You can keep your eyes on my progress to the right.  It's going to be another fun journey!

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