The Adirondack Association USATF’s Guide on How to Start a Youth Running and Track & Field Program

by Mark D. French


Starting a successful Youth Running and Track & Field Program requires considerable front-end planning and coordination. However, the efforts to be invested in this process will produce a multitude of dividends. Most importantly, youth will want to participate and you will be providing young people with an opportunity to experience the fun, excitement and benefits of athletics and running.

The success of this effort requires a well organized program which 1.) considers the special needs and interests of young athletes, and 2.) is perceived as a fun activity by the participants. The new program should be established as an introductory experience for children with emphasis on individual attention, recognition of personal gains and gentle encouragement provided by program coaches and leaders. These ingredients will result in attracting participants who will want to do their best, and who will excel once they are provided opportunities to recognize their potential and identify their interests.

The Adirondack Association USATF encourages new and developing youth clubs to feature “open” registration and equal opportunities for all participants. Youth program implementation for the purposes of intense training and promotion of championship teams is discouraged and could be detrimental to the positive development of young athletes.

Getting Started

Like any new program idea, the process for commencing a youth running program begins simply when one or more individuals decide there is a local need to develop programming for the purpose of extending the benefits of running and athletics to the young people of their community. Then, all that is required is the designation of one or more people who are willing to facilitate and coordinate the development and implementation process and to move the idea from the concept stage, through planning and finally fruition. So, whether it is the individual who first conceived the idea, or another person identified early in the program development process, it will be necessary to designate someone to serve as project Chairperson.

The chairperson will assume responsibility for overseeing and managing all steps of the process. The chair should be someone with strong organizational skills and experience in organizing community programs. An individual who has established professional or personal relations with local key individuals who will impact the success of this initiative, and a track record for commencing other community activities might be a good candidate. Knowledge of running or track & field is not necessarily a prerequisite, if oilier individuals in the planning and implementation group ate experienced in this regard.

Establishing a Club

Generally there are two directions organizers may consider in establishing a club. The first involves becoming organized as an autonomous, free standing nonprofit group established under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The second direction involves becoming affiliated as a component of an existing youth serving community-based organization.

It is recognized that the actual strategies to begin a similar program may vary in different communities according to local conditions such as the availability of a municipal recreation department, or lack of an established youth-serving agency. In some areas it may be necessary to establish the running program as an independent entity, and to become incorporated as a nonprofit organization. While this process may require additional work on the part of the organizers, the autonomy it affords can yield benefits regarding fund raising, and the freedom to proceed without restrictions imposed by the bylaws of a “parent” organization. On the other hand, becoming a component part of an existing agency offers benefits such as immediate name recognition and access to potential in-kind supports from the parent group.

Furthermore, it is understood that while the procedural steps to establish a school-based program may be the similar (e.g., as an after school program to support the physical education instruction youth may receive as part of their regular physical education curriculum), the model described in this brochure is for operation outside of the traditional school day.

This guide provides a brief description of the areas to be considered in planning, developing and implementing the program using either method in establishing a club. In addition, this guide references the actual experiences of a group of interested parents who, in 1994, established the Chatham Gold Youth Track & Field and Cross Country program, for children in grades 3 – 6. In that case, the organizers decided to become a component part of an existing local youth serving agency, the Morris Memorial. Additional information about their experience is available by contacting Mark D. French, Program Chair., 96 Metz Road, Ghent, NY 12075, phone (518) 392-5483, evenings.

Program Development and Implementation

Step I.             Developing the Concept

This step needs to begin at least 4 to 6 months before potential program commencement. A small nucleus of interested individuals, the Core Group, who have a common vision for the program and share similar philosophies regarding youth development and youth athletics needs to be convened. It is best if the members of this group know each other, in that recruiting “unknowns” as part of the Core Group may result in delaying start up if there is a need to first establish consensus about youth development philosophies.

Members of the Core Group could include parents with similar interests, the local school track coach, and other running enthusiasts. To be successful, this group needs to be no greater than 5 people who will generally assume the major responsibility for moving the project to implementation. A Chairperson should be identified from this group.

The first task of the Core Group is to establish a written Implementation Outline describing their proposed program plan including such details as philosophy, goals, length of program, start date, hours, target population, volunteers, budget, recruitment of participants. This outline serves as a written description about program development which the Core Group may use in describing their developmental plans to others in the community.

At that point the Core Group needs to decide which method they will follow in establishing their club. If they plan to proceed with nonprofit incorporation, this group will most likely become the initial officers of the corporation. The Core Group should proceed to complete the necessary application and forms for submission to the federal government. If they plan to have their club “adopted” by a parent organization, a potential nonprofit youth serving agency should be identified and an appointment scheduled to meet with a decision making individual from that agency. This may be the Executive Director or the President of the Board of Directors.

Once application has been made for nonprofit corporation status, or when a host agency has agreed to adopt the club under their organizational umbrella, the Implementation Outline will need to be further detailed and finalized with the input of additional program volunteers as a subsequent step.

Should the Core Group desire to be included an established organization’s corporation, it will be necessary to present the finalized Implementation Plan to the agency’s board of directors. To interest the potential “parent” organization, the Core Group will need to demonstrate that the proposed youth running and track & field program will advance the host agency’s mission. In addition, the Core Group must be prepared to address the agency’s concern about the costs which will be incurred for adopting the program. Finally, the Core Group must listen to and address the host agency’s concerns regarding limiting liability exposure and maintaining the agency’s continued good reputation.

The Core Group should carefully consider suggestions of the agency and be sure to include as many of their recommendations as possible in the final Program Plan.

Chatham Gold Experience: The Core Group includes 5 individuals, all who are interested parents who share a common understanding of youth athletics and youth development. The group adopted a simple philosophy: their program would be open to “Every girl and boy who likes to run, jump or throw”. They agreed to open enrollment for all children in grades 3 through 6 with no established cap on the numbers of participants. (Initially they planned for 50-60 participants, however, before opening day of the inaugural track season, 166 youth, or 33% of the local age eligible population, had registered). The outpouring of interest took the Core Group by surprise and demonstrates the interest which can be developed for this type of youth program.

The Core Group membership includes the individual who conceived the concept for beginning the program. This individual has had experience in leading the development of other community-wide youth initiatives, and he serves as program chairperson. Also included in the Core Group are the high school track coach, a physical education teacher, a physical therapist and a Medical Doctor. Except for the Chair, all members of the Core Group also serve as volunteer coaches for the Chatham Gold programs, responsible for hands-on instruction arid program implementation. Additionally, all of the Core Group members have children who participate in the program.

The goal adopted by the Core Group is also simple: To provide an introduction to athletics and running, and promote increases in self esteem and confidence by demonstrating to youth their potential for personal improvement in athletic performances. In commencing the program, the Core Group was confident they could improve every participant’s strength, speed and stamina through club practices, fun training activities and opportunities for youth to try out their new skills in competition.

The Implementation Outline was presented to the Board of Directors of the Morris Memorial, the local youth serving agency. The Outline specified a mid-April through June track & field season, and a September to early November cross country season. The proposal indicated the track program would serve to widen the array of services already offered by the Morris Memorial and would also compliment the agency’s goal to provide positive youth development opportunities to area young people. The plan detailed a “self-supporting” project, where the Core Group would assume all responsibility for volunteer recruitment and program implementation. No personnel resources from the agency or the Board were required to start and implement Chatham Gold.

In addition, the Implementation Outline called for no major expenditure from the agency in that registration fees of $15 per youth during the initial season would cover the program budget. The only projected expense to the Morris Memorial was for a certificate of insurance naming the Chatham School District as an additional insured. This was required since program practices and competitions would take place at the high school. (Note: after joining Adirondack Association USATF, Chatham Gold had the option of gaining additional coverage under the USATF insurance program.) Based on the merits of the proposal and the Morris Memorial Board of Director’s knowledge and confidence in the Core Group, the program was adopted and is operated under the auspices of the Morris Memorial.

Prior to presenting the plan to the Morris, the Core Group member who is the local school track coach was able to research availability of school facilities and procedures for applying for use of the track and cross country trails. Because of scheduled events and practices by the high school teams, the only regularly available time for use of the track & field facility is Friday evenings, beginning 5:00 PM.

The Core Group agreed this would be an excellent time to convene participants for the spring track & field practices. This time-slot would not conflict with Little League or soccer games which are scheduled evenings, Monday – Thursday, during the same months planned for the track & field program. As such, community youth can participate in both programs, and recruitment competition with other programs was never an issue. Track & field practices are scheduled for every Friday and each week youth are provided with practice sheets describing activities the youth may follow to practice on their own between weekly team practices.

In the case of the Cross Country program, availability of the school grounds and cross country course is generally unrestricted. The Core Group decided to schedule team practices at 3:00 PM, right after school closing. This way the youth could walk to practice and their cross country practices would not interfere with the Morris Memorial youth soccer program. Soccer practices begin 5:30 PM each week day. The Cross Country program practices twice weekly and all members are also able to play on youth soccer teams.

Step II.                        Join USATF

Once organized as a nonprofit entity or a component activity of the host or sponsoring nonprofit youth agency, it is recommended the youth running and track & field club become affiliated with Adirondack Association USATF. USATF is the national governing body for track & field, long distance running and race walking.

Membership in Adirondack USATF will result in access to technical assistance, a network of other club organizers and opportunities for club participants to compete as a team in the USATF Junior Olympic programs in track & field and cross country. Other member benefits include the provision of general comprehensive liability insurance coverage for the club and officers as well as the provision of certificates of insurance to outside entities. In addition, club membership provides a USATF sanction for all regularly scheduled practices and events. Club members who become individual members of USATF are afforded an accident and health insurance policy which is extended while the members participate in USATF sanctioned events.

Chatham Gold Experience: The Morris Memorial applied for club membership to Adirondack Association USATF as the initial step in the implementation of Chatham Gold. Participants join USATF as individuals so they may compete Association and Junior Olympics programs in both track & field and cross county.

Step III.          Establishing an Implementation Group

It will now be necessary to enlist the assistance of additional volunteers who will aid in program implementation. While the numbers of additional volunteers is related to the number of youth who will participate, even a small track & field program will require additional support beyond the Core Group. Individuals who will be responsible to serve a coaches should be identified and brought into the group. Now the Program Plan should be finalized with the input of the Implementation Committee. This way they will have an opportunity to contribute to the program’s development and simultaneously gain ownership and a stake in the program’s success.

Chatham Gold Experience: An additional 6 interested parents were contacted by the Core Group. Serving as the Implementation Committee, this group finalized the details of the Program Plan. The Committee developed a track & field program schedule which includes practices, intramural meets and participation in Adirondack Association events and the USATF Junior Olympics. Since no other youth programs of a similar nature existed on upstate New York during Chatham Gold’s first year. the Junior Olympics were the only non-intramural competition experienced by the track & field participants. The Implementation Committee decided to ask the members of the high school track team to assist with program practices. This turned out to be a very successful approach in recruiting additional volunteers as the high school students enjoy the opportunity to teach the younger children about their sport, and the high school students serve as excellent role models for the program participants.

Practice plans for the track and field program were developed to include weekly opportunities for participants to rotate through instructional stations, following a group warm up session. The stations focused on basic skills in the areas of:

  • sprinting, hurdles and long jumps
  • throws (discus and shot put)
  • high jump, and
  • middle/long distance running

Because of the age of the target group, no instruction is offered in the pole vault or javelin. Only after Chatham Gold had secured a grant to purchase “practice” hurdles, was instruction in that event offered. Following approximately 15 – 20 minutes at each station, youth return to two stations of their choice for more specific training and event practice.

In the initial T & F season, three (3) intramural meets were spread out over 10 weeks which offered opportunities for youths’ progress to be charted and recognized. There were no other youth teams in the Adirondack Association at that time.

Even though Chatham Gold now schedules competition with the new youth clubs which have been established in the Adirondack Association since the inception of Chatham Gold, intramural meets are still used as an opportunity to ensure all athletes are recognized. At intramural meets, youth compete in the by gender and in the same age groups established by USATF. At the intramural meets, youth are encouraged to participate in at least, but not more than, three different events. At the conclusion of every meet, ribbons were awarded to all participants, including place ribbons to the first 5 finishers in each age /gender group by event, and honorable mention ribbons to all other competitors in each event.

Practice plans for the cross country program divide the season into three segments, including Base training (long distance runs), Strength training (speed work, hills) and Tempo training (quality distance runs). Coaches utilize “training games” to make practices fun. The runners thoroughly enjoyed practices on rainy days when they were encouraged to run through all the mud puddles they could find along their training course.

Twice weekly practices are held and intramural meets are scheduled using USATF age groupings to determine award winners. Additionally, the volunteer coaches set up intra-club teams during intramural meets so runners may experience team scoring. All participants in each division are awarded ribbons, just as in the track & field program. Since the establishment of additional youth running clubs in the Adirondack Association, Chatham Gold includes external meets as well as intramural events.

Additionally, participants are encouraged to tryout their new distance running skill through entry in local road races. Chatham Gold volunteers look for local road racing opportunities which include youth divisions and distances of one to two miles, as well as local “fun runs.” The Chatham Gold Cross Country team has participated in races throughout the region (from New York City to Albany). These events provide participants with weekly opportunities to run in races ranging from 1 mile to 5K. Parents were responsible to pay registration fees and to provide participants with transportation to the events. The schedule for the cross country program culminates with the USATF Junior Olympics Championships in November.

Step IV.          Recruitment of Participants

This is an activity that needs to start as early as possible. Methods to advise the target population about the program include newspaper articles, distributing brochures during the seasons prior to the track and cross country seasons (at youth winter basketball or indoor soccer programs for track & field and at summer baseball leagues for the cross country season), sending flyers home through the local school, having announcements published in church bulletins, making presentations at PTA meetings and sending letters to school physical education teachers. In addition, the sponsoring agency may use direct mailings to send invitations to potential registrants. Registration forms could also be made available for pick up by youth at the sponsoring youth agency or a sponsoring business. In addition, special registration days could be scheduled, or registration forms could be submitted at any time back to the agency or via the mail.

Chatham Gold Experience: All the methods noted above were employed in recruiting participants for the initial season of the Chatham Gold Track & Field program. Prior to the beginning of each season, a brochure which includes program information and a registration form are distributed throughout the community. In the first year a $15 registration fee was requested. Registration forms and fees were mailed by participants to the Program Chairman.

With the beginning of the initial season, estimating the number of youth who would register was difficult. Initially, the Core Group estimated that 50-60 youth would register. But, by opening day, 168 youth had paid the $15 fee and wanted to be part of the area’s newest youth sports program! This overwhelming response (33% of all the local age-eligible population signed up to participate) resulted in the need to modify Program Plans and the Implementation Committee was required to recruit additional volunteers. Registration forms were accepted right up until the first practice started.

The Program Plan for the T & F season was modified in 1995 to include a cap of 125 participants and a cut off registration date which was 4 weeks before the first practice. The Core Group determined that the quality of the program would be enhanced by limiting registration. The early cut off date prevented the administrative problems caused by “last minute” sign ups experienced during the initial season.

Participants for the Chatham Gold Cross Country program are recruited from the pool of participants in the track program who participated in the middle and long distance events. Other registrants came from word-of-mouth advertisement about the program commencement.

Step V.            Budget Preparation

Now the Core Group can develop a program budget specifying all projected revenue and potential disbursements. Revenue may come from registration fees and other fund raising, including support from the sponsoring agency. Expenses are determined by the amount of equipment and other items needed by the program.

Chatham Gold Experience: The $15 Track & Field participant registrations covered the cost of 1.) purchasing a team singlet (a simple cotton tank top, silk-screened with the team name) for each participant, 2.) ribbons for all intramural events, and 3.) purchase of implements, tapes, stop watches and starting pistol blanks.

The Cross Country program was awarded a grant from Francis Greenburger, a local philanthropist interested in promoting youth athletics, to cover the cost of warm tips for all participants and a workshop with the professional Team Stick, a group of elite Kenyan road racers. Also the program received a donation of bottled water (30 cases with 24 bottles each) from Saratoga Water and local distributor g.t. Britts of Athens. NY. The youth “sold” the 16 oz. bottles for $1/each to raise funds for the program.

Cross Country expenses covered through water “sales” and the $15 registration fee included 1.) training curricula and publications for the coaches, 2.) ribbons and year-end awards for all participants and 3.) silk-screened team shirt (long sleeve cotton) and running shorts for each participant. Parents were responsible to cover costs of race registrations and transportation to events.

During the initial season of both the track & field and the cross country programs, Chatham Gold participants qualified at the Association and Regional JO meets to compete at the National Junior Olympic Championships. Unfortunately, the coaches and most of the parents of the athletes were unprepared to make a substantial travel expenditure to send the youth to the national events, even though they had qualified.

In the second track season, the registration fee was raised to $20 to cover the cost of better quality track & field uniforms. In addition, the Club has sponsored a Track & Field-athon fund raising event when youth solicit pledges of donations for every lap they run, (or foot they jump/throw) during a specified intramural track meet. They raised $3,200 for the program during the 1995 season.

Also, in 1995, the Core Group developed a grant from the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, a large Albany-based adult running club, to purchase training hurdles. Annually, HMRRC provides small grants to support emerging programs.

Step VI.          Make sure there are sufficient volunteers to implement program

Once the number of participants has been finalized, it will be necessary to review the Program Plan to be sure the numbers of youth will be able to complete planned activities within the time allowed.

Chatham Gold Experience: The original Track & Field Program Plan was designed for 60 participants. As a result of having 100 more youth register than had been expected, the first-season plan was modified and additional volunteers recruited. Parents were asked to serve as Group Leaders during practices and meets. during track practices, the youth are divided into 10 groups with group leaders who are sure the youth in their group rotate to practice stations and stay together for warm ups. During intramural meets, the group leaders are responsible to make sure their assigned youth participate in the three events the youth had selected prior to the meets.

In addition, extra parents were recruited to serve as meet officials, starters, timers, measurers, etc. In all, a total of 50 volunteer coaches, group leaders and meet officials were needed to administer the first Track & Field season. Completion of Intramural meets, including all events (no trials) and awards presentation took approximately 2 hours per meet.

Beginning with the second season, the Core Group added a pre-season orientation meeting for all volunteers. This was a good opportunity to elicit volunteers’ feed back about the previous T & F season and to hear suggestions for program improvement. Developing a sense of ownership and contribution by volunteers is key and essential to ensure their continued support. Personal letters are sent to prior-year volunteers inviting them to participate in the current season.

The first Cross Country program included 40 youth registrants and 36 youth joined the XC team in the second XC season. Four of the Core Group member assume all coaching responsibilities. At intramural meets, parents are recruited to assist with timing, scoring, traffic control and awards presentation. Intramural meets are conducted within an hour including time for warm ups, running the race, scoring and awards presentation.

Step VII.         Getting ready for the First Day of Practice

A week before the first practice, it is recommended that all registrants be sent reminder letters which includes additional detail about the program, including schedules and recommended clothing to be worn by athletes. It should not be assumed that parents wi. know they should send participants to the first practice with appropriate foot wear or warm ups. This letter serves to get and youth thinking about the program. In addition, these letter should announce a first day meeting for all parents so coaches can further explain the program and underscore participants’ and parents’ responsibilities.

Chatham Gold Experience: Recognizing parents are very busy keeping track of their own and their children’s responsibilities, the preseason letters from the Coaches and Chairman are well received. During the initial program year, the first day of practice at both the Track & Field and the Cross Country program included meetings with parents. Folders containing program materials and information about the season schedule were presented at that time. Questions were answered and the phone numbers of all program volunteers provided. Parents were encouraged to call any of the volunteers with questions or suggestions.

Beginning with the second season, the Core Group schedules a day in advance of the first practice when parents and youth pick up team uniforms and other information about planned activities. This is done instead of a first-day parents meeting.

Step VIII.       Ongoing Publicity

Ongoing communication with the community is essential in developing a good support base for program operations continuation. Articles should be prepared for local newspapers to provide periodic updates and information about program development. Intramural meet results should be provided and black and white photos submitted.

Chatham Gold Experience: Periodic press releases are submitted to local papers and results of all intramural meets, other meets and road races including black arid white photos are forwarded to the sports editor at each of the three county newspapers. Articles about the program and participants are generally always published.

Step IX.          Mid Season Letter to Parents

Midway through the season, a formal letter should be sent to the parents of participants advising them about the status of the program (don’t assume they hear the details from their children or read the local newspapers) and to remind them about future events including Junior Olympics participation. It will be necessary to provide registration forms and other materials about the Junior Olympics al least 1 month in advance of the JO meets so parents can have sufficient opportunity to consider taking their child to higher levels of JO competition if they qualify.

Chatham Gold Experience: Letters are sent to all parents as indicated above. Again response from parents is very positive. This correspondence is also used to provide Information about motels in the area where the regional Junior Olympics are held to get parents thinking about reserving time for this event.

Step X.            Junior Olympics Participation

The track and XC seasons can culminate with the club’s participation at the USATF Adirondack Association Junior Olympics meet. This provides the youth with an opportunity to compare their progress to that of youth outside their community and permits opportunities to advance to regional and national level competition. Youth who are successful will have an opportunity to move on to the Regional I Junior Olympics meet which includes competitors from most of New York State as well as all the New England States. Qualifiers at the Regional I meet may advance to the National Junior Olympics. The location for these events rotates to different areas each year. The Adirondack Association hosted the Region I Track & Field Junior Olympics in the spring of 1995 at RPI in Troy. Adirondack Association will host the Region I Cross Country meet in the fall 1996 at Saratoga State Park.

Chatham Gold Experience: In the program’s first year, 46 of the 164 Chatham Gold track & field program participants went to the Adirondack Association Junior Olympics Track & Field meet. 41 qualified to go on to the Regional Junior Olympics meet in Orono, Maine. The youth’s success took their parents by surprise, as only 12 were prepared or could schedule time to take their children to the Region I meet at the University of Maine. There, four of the youth qualified for national participation. Unfortunately, none of the youth traveled to Florida for the National Championships since parents were unprepared to cover the travel costs.

In the first cross country season, 35 of the 40 program participants entered the Adirondack Association Junior Olympics Cross Country meet. 28 youth qualified to go on to the Region I meet held in Augusta, Maine. At the Region I meet, the Chatham Gold Bantam Boys team (7 youth), as well as one team member in the Youth Boys category, qualified to compete in the 1994 National Junior Olympics Championships in Reno, Nevada. Two of the Bantam Boys traveled to Reno to compete. One of the Chatham Gold runners finished 16th and the other placed 125th out of 250 national finalists who represented every state but Alaska in the Bantam Boys race. In 1995, two Midget boys qualified for the national XC Junior Olympics championships and one traveled to Baton Rogue to participate.

Step XII.         Season End Awards Ceremony

New and ongoing programs should use the last practice or last meet to again recognize the gains made by every participant. Special ribbons or awards, all the same, could be presented to each youth at that time. In addition, it will be important to filly recognize every volunteer who helped, giving special thanks to the sponsoring agency. Within 10 days of the end of the season, follow up with a letter to all volunteers, sponsors, the local school (if facilities used) and sponsoring agency. A final press release naming all volunteers should be prepared and released to the local newspapers.

Chatham Gold Experience: At the conclusion of both the track & field and cross country seasons, all participants are provided with special medals and ribbons at ceremonies conducted in the presence of parents and members of the Board of Directors of the Morris Memorial. Volunteers are introduced and publicly thanked and the kids provided great applause as an indication of their appreciation.

Letters are sent from the Chairman to volunteers, thanking them and asking for any suggestions to improve the program for the subsequent year. Newspaper articles are prepared for local papers listing all program supporters and thanking sponsors.

Step XIII.       Special Events

Special events serve to enhance the program experience for participants and further advance the goals of the program. In addition, special events may result in increased public awareness of the program.

Chatham Gold Experience: During the second the third (1194 and 1995) Cross Country seasons, the Core Group arranged for a local running shoe store to offer discounts for shoe purchases to participants based on the number of As and Bs they earned on their report cards during XC season. This is the “Good Grades – Good Shoes” program which reinforces the importance of academics. To further emphasize school work, all participants who were named to their school’s honor roll are sent letters of congratulations from the Core Group.

Another activity used to keep participants motivated involves sending a special note between seasons to all youth who had achieved the best age group performance during the previous season. The letter indicates they are Season or Club “Record Holders”.

A new feature for the 1995 T&F season was an Invitational Track Meet, which included 10 youth clubs from the New York City area. Following the meet which attracted 350 visiting athletes, the parents of Chatham Gold, with assistance from the Chatham Lions Club, hosted a cook out and awards ceremony at the local town park for all invitational meet participants.

In 1995 the club also hosted an “I did It” Field Day in conjunction with the local Elks Club, to introduce 125 area youth in grades k-3 to track & field. In addition, the club hosted weekly, summer-time community Fun Runs/Walks to encourage wider community support for program efforts.

In looking ahead to 1996, the Club plans to commence a winter time indoor track program, for middle and high school athletes, since the local school district does not offer interscholastic indoor track programming.

Beginning with the third (1996) spring track and field program, participation will be further reduced from 125 to only 100 athletes. This will further improve the coaching and learning environment. Also, the Club is exploring the feasibility of hosting a 5K road race open to the public.

Finally, Chatham Gold Core Group members have provided assistance to help four other communities commence programs modeled after Chatham Gold. Now Adirondack Association has a viable group of youth clubs, with more getting started in 1996.

(updated 1/96)