It was a cold (but not too windy) Saturday morning in November. About 200 kids and adults gathered at the Sam Michaels Park in Jefferson County for the Wee Warrior Dash. Some of the staff here at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center voluntarily help to organize and put on the free event for kids, and we invited any of our after school program kids to join us for the fun. This year, Iann and David, two of our Leaders in Action students, adventurously came out for the morning excitement.
Not only did they receive t-shirts and goodie bags, but the real enticement of the mile long youth race are the obstacles, lots of them. David, Iann, and the other 120+ wee warriors climbed, jumped, crawled, hurdled, and zig-zagged through a dozen different fun physical features. I interviewed David well after the race and asked him how it was and he said, “It was challenging but not too challenging. I enjoyed the obstacles the most.”
David has been in our program for a couple years now, but this year he has been faithfully coming to the optional Running Club portion every chance he gets. He’s been working hard and has even started doing more on his own outside of the club. Checking back in with David a couple months after the race I asked him if he was still running at home some. “Yes, about once or twice a week for about 15 minutes in my backyard,” he says. “It has a hill and trees that you have to weave around kind of like obstacles.”
“Would you do it again?” I ask. Without hesitation David answers, “Yes.” That’s the real goal for such an event like the Wee Warrior Dash or our running club. It’s challenging and fun, and we aim to inspire more kids to learn to enjoy physically exerting themselves for the sake of their health, enjoyment, and confidence knowing that they can overcome all sorts of challenging obstacles if they just try their best. We are certainly proud of Iann and David for giving it their best that day.
(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV)