On this Giving Tuesday, we at the Nina Brekelmans Memorial Foundation want to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported the organization throughout the past three years. We’re proud to see the Nina Brekelmans Running Camp for Girls grow and thrive, and we’re looking forward to making the 2019 camp and race the best yet. As we reflect on the year, we wanted to highlight some of our milestones from the last camp and share plans for the future. We also hope that you’ll consider supporting the Foundation as we expand to meet these goals.
The camp welcomed 30 to 40 girls each week with lessons on running, role models, sportsmanship, strength training and nutrition. The girls also participated in fun games, team building activities, journaling, and cheers. Just as last year, the majority of this year’s campers joined from refugee communities in Jordan, including girls from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Sudan.
We again hosted the Nina Brekelmans Race for Girls and moved to a great new course at Al-Hussein Public Park. This year nearly 70 girls ages 8 to 14 joined for the race. We awarded trophies to the top finishers in both our younger and older divisions as well as a trophies for the top finishers in each age group from the camp.
We were joined by two amazing new head coaches, Rawda Hamadneh and Ru’a Al-Abweh. With Rawda’s background in teaching and coaching in Jordan and Ru’a’s passion for running—including with the November Project during her time in Seattle on a Fulbright to the US—we’re amazed by the passion and energy of our leaders. Furthermore, the camp is excited to bring on one of last year’s Fulbright leaders, Sophie Zinser, to act as our Jordan Program Director to work alongside Rawda and Ru’a to manage on-the-ground operations and planning.
The Foundation strengthened in-country partnerships with other nonprofits and government organizations. We continue to work hand-in-hand with Fulbright students and Reclaim Childhood. We love the passion of our Fulbright students and were lucky to have four excellent leaders last year: Amanda Swenson, Sophie Zinser, Nicole Khamis, and Hayden Bates. Further, Reclaim Childhood continues to be a fantastic thought partner over these past two years. We work directly with them to connect with campers in the refugee community, and they are always ready and willing to pitch a hand on all aspects of the camp and race. The Foundation was once again selected by the U.S. Department of State for grant funding, and we received support at the race from Run Jordan, the country’s largest organizer of road races—who provided in-kind donations of hats and water bottles. The camp and race were made possible by an core group of dedicated volunteers connected with the Fulbright and Jordan running communities. They helped to support our campers and are central to the heart and soul of the camp.
Finally, the camp and race would not have been possible without you, our community. We are grateful that so many of you donated time, money, and energy to supporting the camp on behalf of Nina and the camp’s mission. Likewise, we’re thankful for our Board of Directors and Board of Advisers who volunteer their passions and ideas to make the programs possible and run behind the scenes. This year, our organization aims to share more frequent stories and content from the camp and race so that others may share in the fun stories of our campers, personalities of our volunteers, and work of our board. We recently launched an Instagram account (@ninab_camp) and plan to be more active with our social media presence and newsletter communications.
Since it is Giving Tuesday, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to help support the camp and race in 2019. This year we’re setting an ambitious goal of raising $5,000 to underwrite the camp and race. The camp’s expenses have grown to fund new practice space rentals, increased transportation costs for campers, and direct support materials like tshirts, snacks, and journals. We’re again planning to apply for federal grant funding, but we rely on individual contributions to cover the remaining camp and race costs. Between now and the end of December 15, any donations made of at least $50 will receive a “Nina patch” included with a thank you note. For donations of $100 or more, we’ll also send a tshirt from our camp or orange tshirt from our 2016 Georgetown race (sizes subject to availability).
On behalf of the Nina Brekelmans board, thank you all!
Mary Grace Pellegrini
President, Nina Brekelmans Memorial Foundation