On Sunday, March 4, Northeast Opportunities for Wellness, Inc. (NOW) partnered with Tourtellotte Memorial High School’s Track & Field coaches & student athletes for the 3rd Annual Youth Running & Track clinic. Forty-two children participated in the clinic, learning a variety of skills in track and field events. This clinic is a part of a series of free events hosted by NOW designed to introduce sports and wellness activities to children in the 10-town area of Northeast Connecticut.

First held in March of 2016, the concept behind the annual Running & Track Clinic was to introduce proper form and technique to children interested in running activities. Early on, Tourtellotte’s Track & Field coaches were quick to express interest in partnering with NOW on the clinic, with the goal of promoting the sport to elementary and middle-school aged children. With a program planned by TMHS Coach Beth Ten Eyck, student athletes from the TMHS Track & Field teams and Coach Cindy Ouillette led 6 dynamic “skill stations” including: Acceleration Skills, Pacing for Distance, Jumping, Throwing, Relays, and Hurdling. NOW Executive Director Sarah Wolfburg expressed her appreciation for the hard work of the TMHS coaches and students, “This clinic continues to be a success due to the outstanding efforts of Coach Ten Eyck, Coach Ouillette and the talented students of Tourtellotte Memorial High School. We are grateful that they are willing to volunteer each year, all in the spirit of inspiring future athletes. We find that the high school volunteers are fantastic role models for the kids that come out to the clinic and help make the day fun.”

A signature element of the clinic is additional skill stations run by NOW staff, focused on nutrition and fitness. For the Running & Track clinic, NOW Fitness Leader Kristen Rukstela led participants through an agility obstacle course station, and NOW Programming Coordinator Kelsey Quinn taught children the importance of a balanced diet with the NOW “My Plate” nutrition station. Children were also offered a healthy snack of clementines or raisins during the nutrition station.

Throughout the year, NOW hosts several clinics focused on such sports as, soccer, football, cheerleading, lacrosse, hockey, and basketball. In late 2017, NOW received $1,000 in grant funds from the Jewett City Savings Bank Foundation to assist with clinic costs, which includes facility and custodial fees, supplies, and marketing. Additional clinics planned for the early spring will include a Youth Baseball Clinic on March 18th in partnership with Tri-town American Legion Baseball. This is the first clinic NOW will host focused on baseball and the organization is excited to work with coaches and older players from American Legion baseball.

On April 8th, NOW and The Arc Quinebaug Valley will host the 2nd Annual Spectrum of Sports Clinic. This event is an inclusive clinic for children of all abilities and will feature skill stations in several sports. Volunteers from Putnam Science Academy, NECONN Soccer, Quest Martial Arts, TMHS Track & Field, and Quinebaug Valley Youth Lacrosse will assist by running respective stations. NOW will also feature a yoga station and nutrition activity.

NOW is a non-profit human services organization focused on youth wellness. NOW provides children with the opportunity to participate in area wellness activities and athletics programs, offering scholarships to the youth of the community with up to 95% of the cost being subsidized by NOW. The mission of the organization is to provide ALL children, regardless of financial resources, equal opportunities to achieve & maintain youth wellness, beginning at an early age.

Registration is currently available online for the March 18th Baseball Clinic and April 8th Spectrum of Sports Clinic.