By Myrna Hoover


Today’s student athlete faces many challenges on and off the field. Maintaining an appropriate balance between academics and athletics, reaching his or her athletic potential, meeting academic requirements, maintaining a well-rounded personal life, and, finally, developing a set of values and skills that will benefit them throughout life are all important to today’s young athlete. Even with all these challenges, student athletes also receive a lot of benefits for all their hard work. A lot of discipline is required to play sports, and that carries over to the classroom and eventually their career. Athletes learn how to prioritize their time, work hard and find self-discipline all skills for future success. Knowing these challenges and understanding the great benefits of running is why The Chenoweth Fund, a part of Gulf Winds Track Club (GWTC), will be active sponsors of the 2004 Seminole Track Invitational and will continue to work hard to support these athletes and running in our community.

Established in 1988 in honor of Dean and Jenny Chenoweth, the Chenoweth Fund promotes the efforts of runners and triathletes in the Big Bend area to achieve athletic excellence and to encourage youth running. Since its creation, the Fund has provided assistance on 59 occasions to competitors and has awarded grants in excess of $29,000.

For the last six years, the Fund honored high school track and field competitors and cross country runners with awards. It has also helped to sponsor cross country meets and track invitationals. Money has supported travel expenses for local athletes to attend regional and national level competition.

Youth related funding has gone to purchase shoes & uniforms for groups who could not otherwise afford them, provide entry fees in local races to give children the opportunity to experience a race, provide assistance for local youth to attend events like the Special Olympics, and support local youth races and triathlons.

Activities like these strengthen our community by providing fitness opportunities for our youth and encourage our student athletes to make a commitment to the benefits of running as a life long sport. Likewise, communities across the country must make a commitment to support student athletes when determining to invest resources! Every dollar can make a difference.

The Chenoweth Fund will continue to support athletes of all ages and provide opportunities for our area’s youth and athletes to participate in events that they would not have been able to attend if not for this kind of support. The fund can only provide these opportunities with your support. To make your contribution, volunteer, or offer input please visit The Chenoweth Fund and support student athletes.

Another way you can help is by supporting The Pot Luck Bash on June 5. Mark the date on your calendar and plan to attend. Gulf Winds Track Club and the Chenoweth Fund make a difference in our community and you can too! Remember, the future of running is with our youth!