It all started With Cam. . .
The Positive Tracks concept was conceived in 2009 at the CHaD Hero Half Marathon at a community rally for a nine year-old young leukemia patient named Cameron Marshall. It rained that year at the CHaD HERO, hard. So hard that the inaugural Cam’s Course lost power and sound. But hundreds of families showed up to run for Cam, anyway. Cam was seriously ill, but he came too, and was carried through the finish line by his school principal to the sound of hundreds of his friends humming Chariots Of Fire. That moment revealed how an athletic effort can be a powerful gesture of hope, a compelling means of supporting a friend and the worthy organization helping him.
The inaugural Cam’s Course evidenced how one act can lead to large-scale community action. The fact is: people want to help people. Kids want to help kids.
Sometimes all it takes is identifying a physical action that stands as proof of human compassion. Cam’s Course, and community reaction to Cam’s Course, planted the seed for Positive Tracks and the GOmentum Positive Tracks builds inside the hearts of young people and their supporters.
The following year CHaD was awarded a Positive Tracks Youth Challenge Grant that doubled dollars raised by CHaD Hero Half Marathon participants age 23 or under. Young people were given “fundraising wings”, so their efforts made significant impact on a community – and a cause – close to their hearts.
When CHaD Hero Half Marathon participants successfully met the $100,000 Positive Tracks Youth Fundraising Challenge, enthusiasm and support grew to include additional partners receiving Positive Tracks Challenge Grants and supporting tools and coordination. In 2011, The Dempsey Challenge, benefiting The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, ME, became the second founding Positive Tracks event partner. The Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament in Jericho, VT, joined Positive Tracks as its third charitable event partner in 2012. In 2013, Positive Tracks entered five new partnerships with Grassroot Soccer, Lacrosse the Nations, Ride2Recovery, Turtle Ridge Foundation and Additive Adventure By Majka Burhardt. In 2014, Soccer Without Borders, Playworks, Mote Marine, Let’s Get Ready and Big City Mountaineers and The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp came on board. In 2015, Positive Tracks delivered its Charity Partner Program to 12 organizations to empower young people across the nation to sweat for good.
2016 was a huge year for Positive Tracks because we developed and piloted Positive Tracks U23 Challenges Program, a pathway allowing youth to identify their own benefiting organization and its corresponding athletic event. Youth apply to Positive Tracks for our support, and Positive Tracks delivers an electronic fundraising page, insurance, matching dollar incentives, and hands on help with event organization and leadership training related to team building, empathy, communication and marketing, goal setting, positive mindset, health and wellness, resilience, and other training surrounding the Positive Tracks Curriculum & Tools.
In 2017, we’ll support at least 50 U23 Challenges across the country in addition to helping youth get active and give back through our Charity Partner Program.