News Democrat

First Vern Hawkins Youth Running Camp provides healthy benefits for local students

Campers take a warm-up lap around the Georgetown track to start the running activities on day 3 of Vern Hawkins Youth Running Camp, June 20.

By Wade Linville – 
Summer break from school is an excellent time for students to get outdoors and improve their physical fitness, and some would agree that no physical activities hold more health benefits than running. There are many factors that play into becoming a successful cross country or track runner that include diet, proper hydration, and race preparation. More than 20 local runners ranging from grades fourth through seventh made their way to the Georgetown Jr./Sr. High School track throughout the week with one common goal in mind, to learn to become better runners. The calling was the first annual Vern Hawkins Youth Running Camp, and even with temperatures remaining in the 90’s for much of the week, camp instructors were pleased with the turnout in their first year of holding the camp.
Serving as an instructor for the first Hawkins Youth Running Camp was Georgetown High School cross country coach, Dr. Michael McHenry.
According to McHenry, the camp involved much more than actual running. Campers were able to gain tips from guest speakers throughout the camp including Western Brown High School’s assistant track and cross country coach, Nick McAfee, Georgetown High School Athletic Director Doug Williams, Georgetown High School assistant cross country coach Kyle Damen, and competitive distance runner Makayla Florence.
“We were happy with the turnout for the first year of holding the camp,” said McHenry. “I think the campers are learning a lot and having fun.”
According to McHenry, the campers enjoyed taking part in various games that involved running including “freeze tag” and four corners.
“I want them to associate running with fun, and not just have them come out here and run all night,” McHenry added.
The camp began on June 18 and ended on Friday, June 22. While there were some campers who took advantage of the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming fall cross country season, all left the Georgetown track with a better understanding of how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle.