Inaugural Girls On The Run 5K - Camp Verde
Story by Sean Openshaw
Nov. 13, 2023
In the heart of Yavapai County, amidst the verdant landscapes of Verde Valley, a milestone was made this Saturday at the new Camp Verde Sports Complex.
The inaugural Girls on the Run 5K in Camp Verde unfolded, marking a significant milestone for the local community and the organization. Kelly Teeselink, the Council Director of Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, spearheaded this inspiring initiative.
"Today represents a culmination of ten weeks of hard work, joy, and confidence building for the girls in the Verde Valley and Prescott area," Teeselink began, her voice full of pride and excitement. The event, she explained, was more than a race; it was a celebration of the strides made by young participants in their journey of growth and empowerment.
The decision to host the 5K in Camp Verde, according to Teeselink, was driven by a desire to be more accessible and present in the Verde Valley community. This strategic move, she believed, would not only lower barriers to participation but also foster a deeper connection with the locality.
"Having the girls come from different altitudes and climates supports them in a unique way," she noted, emphasizing the organization's commitment to inclusivity and adaptability.
The enthusiasm for the event was palpable among the participants and their families as they put on temporary tattoos, stickers, glitter, tutus and colored their hair.
Teeselink recounted the excitement that rippled through the community when the location was announced.
"The reception here today has been really great," she said, adding the proximity of the event allowed for greater family involvement and support, a critical component of the program. "The girls were really excited...everyone was really excited to know that Girls on the Run was coming to their community."
Describing the atmosphere of the day, Teeselink painted a picture of joy and magic. The environment, different from their usual Flagstaff setting, added a unique flavor to the event.
"It felt really exciting...it was just really magical to see this day come together," she said, capturing the essence of the event's success and echoing the sentiments of many who attended. The shift in location also brought a unique auditory experience, as she noted, "It sounded like pure joy. It felt like joy."
The impetus for hosting the event in Camp Verde, Teeselink noted, was twofold: increasing accessibility and embedding the program within the community. This strategic decision aimed to extend the program's reach, encouraging more schools, coaches, and volunteers to participate.
"It helps more families get involved and brings more donor dollars," she explained, highlighting the sustainable growth model of the organization.
When asked about the challenges in organizing such an event, Teeselink candidly spoke about capacity concerns. "We have a very small staff, but we work really well together," she said, showcasing the team's dedication and resourcefulness. The success of the event, despite these challenges, was a testament to their commitment and hard work.
Reflecting on the day, Teeselink expressed immense satisfaction and optimism.
"Today was a huge success," she affirmed, praising the seamless execution and the overwhelming community support. Her final thoughts were a heartfelt message to the participants: "This event is for you, to celebrate your hard work, confidence, and your journey. You are supported every step of the way."
In Kelly’s words:
- "Today represents a culmination of ten weeks of hard work, joy, and confidence building."
- "Having the girls come from different altitudes and climates supports them in a unique way."
- "The reception here today has been really great."
- "We have a very small staff, but we work really well together."
- "Today was a huge success."
- "This event is for you to celebrate your hard work, confidence, and your journey."
- "It sounded like pure joy. It felt like joy."