It’s not even three months old yet, and the Peconic Community School’s new track team is already a hit. Particularly with a couple of charities.
Peconic Community School, an independent school in Aquebogue serving youngsters ages 3 through eighth grade, had never had a sports team before in its nearly 10-year history. Not that it wasn’t interested in getting into the sports business.
Mary Vines, who had coached track at PS 107 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, then suggested the school form a track team.
“And we kind of took it from there, and it makes the most sense because you don’t need the fields, you don’t need equipment and it’s cost-effective,” said Liz Casey Searl, the school’s co-executive director. “Anybody can run.”
The team for third-graders and up was formed in December with the idea of giving its young athletes a safe, outdoor outlet for exercise.
It turned out the team was able to serve another purpose — running miles for charitable dollars.
Over the holiday break, the PCS runners logged over 60 miles and raised in excess of $1,200. They then agreed the money should be split among two charities, Camp Power, which provides summer camp experiences for New York City youngsters, and Family Service League, a social service agency.
“It really motivated them and inspired them to get out there in the cold and do the running, and they were so excited when we told them how much money they had raised,” Ms. Searl said. “That really buoyed them.”
The team has about 17 athletes from a student enrollment of 102, said Ms. Searl. Ms. Vines and Stephen Searl, Ms. Searl’s husband, coach the team, which meets weekly for stretching, running and inspirational words.
The PCS runners look forward to participating in local races this spring and summer, such as the May Mile at Peconic Landing and the Shelter Island 10K.
“Going into it, I didn’t really think about them raising money for local charities,” Ms. Searl said. “You know, our goal was really for them to develop a healthy habit, something that they can do their whole life.
“I knew that there would be valuable life lessons for them in healthy living and well-being so that the fundraising piece was just the cherry on top.”