Notes from Amman: Gearing up for the 2017 Camp and Race

 The camp leadership team meets in Amman at Sport City to plan for this year's events. (L to R: Bishr Khasawneh, Lilly Frost, Lena Hamvas, Matthew Liston, Ibrahim Abu Asbeh, Batoul Arnaout, and Mohammad Al-Sweity).

The camp leadership team meets in Amman at Sport City to plan for this year's events. (L to R: Bishr Khasawneh, Lilly Frost, Lena Hamvas, Matthew Liston, Ibrahim Abu Asbeh, Batoul Arnaout, and Mohammad Al-Sweity).

By Lena Hamvas

Lena Hamvas is part of this year's leadership team and teaches English in Irbid, Jordan, as a 2016-2017 Fulbright scholar. 

Nina Brekelmans had a mission to improve running infrastructure for girls in Jordan and encourage healthy lifestyles through running, a mission we are determined to follow.

When a fourth grade student of mine heard about the running camp in class, she said, “Yes! I love running. Please, teacher, sign me up!”

When I asked teachers to announce the running camp in class to the girls, they lit up with excitement. One English teacher said, “Wow! That is such a good idea for girls in Jordan. This is wonderful because girls need to learn that they can do sports too, and the community needs more girls doing sports!”

There is a group of girls in Irbid, Jordan (1.5 hours north of Amman) who are taking English classes and heard about the running camp.  From these girls, 9 of 10 girls showed interest in running in the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp.  However, since they are far away from Amman and are not able to come to the camp each week, they have committed to practicing once a week in Irbid as a group with plans to join the girls in Amman for the race.

 Fulbright volunteers at the 2016 race

Fulbright volunteers at the 2016 race

 Campers with Batoul Arnaout, founder of BOOST and a favorite speaker and leader for the camp/race

Campers with Batoul Arnaout, founder of BOOST and a favorite speaker and leader for the camp/race

The local community is very excited about the running camp, and we are very excited to help build the infrastructure to make it all happen!

The Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls will have girls from many different neighborhoods. The girls range in age from  8-14 years old. A group of dedicated volunteers from the community at-large will help make the camp happen. The volunteers will be helping the girls with running practice and understanding the lessons given by guest speakers. We will have guest speakers who will speak about healthy lifestyles and about sports in the community and around the world. This year, the girls will have the chance to interact with runners from the United States who knew Nina Brekelmans. This is a good opportunity to exchange cultures through the love of sports.

After four weeks of camp, the girls will run in a race on April 22. This will give them a chance to use what they practiced during the camp and run in a real race. The camp and race will give the girls a chance to meet people in their communities who like to run and do sports. After the camp ends, we hope the girls will be inspired to continue doing sports in their community throughout the rest of the year.