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Displaying items by tag: fun

A blur of bright neon burst through Congress Park Sunday and it brought with it tens of thousands of dollars. What was it? A pack of children in green shirts running for a good cause.

Children up to age 12 sprinted and waddled and rolled through two different trails in the tenth annual Cantina Fun Run Sunday morning. The Cantina restaurant, in conjunction with the Saratoga hospital foundation and various sponsors, organized the event.  

“The tenth anniversary had a lot of personal meaning for us,” Cantina owner Heath Ames said. “Along with the money an awareness raised over the years, engaging our kids to help others and showing how a community comes together is a wonderful lesson to share.”

This year, the event raised $76,500, 30 percent more than the organizers’ goal of $59,500. The race trampled the previous donation record of $60,000, set in 2014. All the funds have supported Saratoga Hospital’s pediatric care. The event has raised over $400,000 since the first race in 2008.

The Saratoga Hospital Foundation has fostered the event since its inception. Officials estimated that the hospital treats over 4000 children each year. The donations have brought in new equipment and provided employees special training.

The benefit isn’t solely for the children in need of treatment. Jane Jeffery of Clifton Park said her two children, who ran the event for the first time, felt inspired watching parents and other kids move together for a good cause.

“After these types of activities, I see my kids walking around with a little bit more confidence, feeling taller, older,” Jeffery said. “I think it’s great to have that kind of internal feeling of what it feels like to move your body, what it feels like to accomplishing things together.”

Over 730 people from all over Saratoga County participated in the race. For some, the sense of community the event brought was a highlight.

“We got a big kick watching the little ones run by,” said Sal Calvelli, a Saratoga County resident of six years. “We don’t know them but we’re cheering them on. It brings you together.”

Calvelli’s children participated in the event for the first time this year.

“It’s not just fun; it makes you feel good that you’re contributing to the hospital,” he said. “It’s not just getting together with friends and family. It’s getting together for a good cause.”

Among the numerous community members were hundreds of volunteers. Heather and Brian Straughter have been Fun Run volunteers since its second year, when it was held in the old Cantina parking lot. They have watched the event, the community and their own son, Ethan, grow together.

“All these events are so great because you see people who have young kids, who have older kids. Some of the kids who run this are now volunteers. It makes you feel happy that you live in area where people care.”

Ethan, 12, has been running in the event since he was five, and 2017 was his last year eligible for the run. “He aged out,” Brian said. “Now he can volunteer.”

Published in Sports
Thursday, 01 June 2017 13:29

R U Tuff eNuff? These BOCES Students Are

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This Saturday, June 3, will bring the sixth annual TUFF eNUFF obstacle course challenge to Saratoga Springs, providing local families and fitness enthusiasts with a day of high-energy, muddy fun on the reconstituted fields near the F. Donald Myers Education Center.  Prior to the big day, the course itself has to be planned and constructed, and for the last six years these tasks have fallen into the hands of local BOCES students who learn their crafts at the Henning Road campus.

Each September, The Prevention Council gets in touch with Greg Hammond and Ken Brooks, instructors at the Henning Road BOCES in the Heavy Equipment Program, to work out a date for the following year’s TUFF eNUFF challenge.  From there, according to Hammond, the instructors and their students will begin the process of putting together the course about three weeks in advance, beginning first with the planning stages.  The actual construction portion of the build takes up the last week or so before the event takes place.  Every BOCES student in the Heavy Equipment program works on the project, which Hammond estimates to be around 80 students in a given year.

According to some of the students who have worked on this year’s course, the equipment used to prepare the TUFF eNUFF course are the typical vehicles that one would expect on a construction site: excavators, backhoes, bulldozers, wheel loaders, and more.

“A little bit of everything,” Hammond said.

This equipment is used to create the primary facets of the TUFF eNUFF course, including trenches to be filled with muddy water, and giant mounds of dirt to be scaled by runners.  After these elements are in place, Hammond says that a number of other elements are brought in to spice things up, including logs, tires, ropes, and a number of other things to make the course more challenging.

Aaron Lohaus, a student in the Heavy Equipment program, also noted the importance of safety in designing and constructing the course.  He said that different considerations have to be made for the children’s course versus the normal course, including the depth of the trenches, to avoid potential drowning hazards for the smaller competitors.  Furthermore, safety checks for the whole project are needed to ensure that nothing is left in place that might be too sharp or that might trip up participants in a bad way.

All the tasks that go into creating these courses tie back into the lessons the students learn in the Heavy Equipment program.  Unsurprisingly, proper operation techniques are an important part of the program, but the students also learn how perform maintenance on the various vehicles and pieces of equipment they work with.  Additionally, as Lohaus highlighted, safety is a major part of what they learn about, especially when it comes to being aware of their fellow workers on the project site.

In recent years, the Prevention Council has also brought in students from other BOCES programs to improve the overall TUFF eNUFF experience.  This includes students from the culinary program, who help put together a barbeque for the event, as well as student from the criminal justice program, who help to police the course and direct the flow of participants on the course.

The Sixth Annual TUFF eNUFF challenge will take place at the Henning Road BOCES on June 3.  The Kids 1 Mile Run will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Teens/Adults 5K at 9:15 a.m.  Anyone interested can register at www.finishright.com, and more information can be found by calling 518-581-1230. 

Published in Education

The homeless—Individuals without shelter or a place to call their own—a wide-spread problem across the country.

Veterans—men and women who have served our country and sacrificed to ensure our safety and freedom.

Homeless veterans—two words that should never be included in the same sentence. A travesty. Those service members once walking in stride, dressed in uniform, their heads held high, focused; and for one reason or another, now find themselves seeking shelter, warmth and a place to rest their somber bodies.

Published in News