On Friday, August 21, Arena’s Deli & Bar in downtown Milford hosted the Inaugural Running of the Goat 5K Run/Walk benefiting the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. In a huge display of support for The Club, over 270 runners registered for the race along the Mispillion Riverwalk and Goat Island Nature Preserve and hundreds of others joined the fun at the outdoor after party at Arena’s that included live entertainment and food off the grill.
The name for the event honors the newest addition to the Mispillion Riverwalk, the Goat Island Nature Preserve. A manmade island, Goat Island was created by local shipbuilders in the 1940’s as they needed to straighten out the path of the Mispillion River to make way for the wooden subchasers that were built in Milford shipyards. These subchasers were used in the larger war effort during World War II as many of them saw service around the world including Pearl Harbor, Normandy and Japan. The target area of the Goat Island project consists of a nine acre island located within the city limits containing four adjoining habitat environments: high woodland, tidal flooded woodland, tidal freshwater wetland marsh and open water. Goat Island Nature Park now anchors the eastern most phase of the Mispillion Greenway as the final phase of the Riverwalk project, resulting in a two mile pedestrian and bicycle path.
Event organizer Joe Gannon, who led a Boys & Girls Club event committee to create this annual event thanked those in attendance as he acted as the emcee during the award ceremony. “It was great to see so many people come out to support the event. We had over one hundred people show up the day of the race to register” said Gannon. “Seeing the look on people’s faces as they enjoyed the race and the event afterwards was what made it all worth it. With the strong foundation we built this year, I know next year’s event is going to be great; I think it will become a premier race in downstate Delaware.”
Ramsey Schrader, Presenting Sponsor and owner at Arena’s Deli & Bar in Milford, felt that the size of the first year event was an indication of the excitement that has brought more people to downtown Milford in recent years. “My favorite part was seeing the turnout and how many Milford residents, and non residents showed up to a first time event,” stated Schrader. “Clearly Milford has the small town, hometown feeling that lots of people want for their community. We’re lucky to live in a place where everyone will pull together for the betterment of the quality of life.”
Money raised through sponsorships, runners and additional funds from after party attendees will help the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club continue to provide programs at the Club that are geared toward helping kids develop into productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Club’s before and after care from 6:30am to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday, is aimed at changing the lives of not only the children who attend every day but also their families and the community at large. In addition to providing daily guidance and mentoring, the Club offers structured programming throughout the year which has supported improved academic performance and attendance of Milford Club kids in local elementary, middle and high schools.
“The Running of the Goat 5K was incredible, we far exceeded our wildest dreams. For me there were two big highlights- The excitement of the kids being chased by “Ramsey the Goat” in the Kiddie K Race and the overwhelming support from the community,” said Tod VanEyken, Director of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. “People came out and had a good time for a good cause and with their support we will be able to enhance our scholarship program which helps kids of all ages enjoy our After School and Summer Camp programs as well as participate on our Marlins, Community Swim Team and for the first time we’ll also be able to provide support for an additional night of programming for our Teens with an Open Court night just for them.” According to VanEyken, the Club provides over $46,000 per year in financial scholarships. Events like Arena’s Running of the Goat assists local families by creating some form of financial assistance for more than 70% of the children currently enrolled in the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club.
In an effort to establish the Milford Club as a community center in the Greater Milford Area, in addition to serving school-aged children, the Club has recently expanded its facility and services to include a full size fitness center, adult basketball and pickleball leagues and water aerobic classes. The Richard Y. Johnson Aquatic Center is also home to the Milford High School Buccaneers Swim Team, the Club’s own Milford Marlins Swim Team and is the only Boys & Girls Club in Delaware to offer swimming scholarships through the Michael Phelps Foundation. These community services are made available to Greater Milford Area residents year-round through support from the Annual Fund Campaign.
The Greater Milford Boys & Girls club will host several other fundraising events over the next 12 months. The Cocktials and Conversations night will be held at the Milford Club in November, the Bowl-A-Thon at the Milford Lanes will be held in March of 2016 and the Kids Fest event, which is the largest Club fundraiser, will be held at the Club in June of 2016. Families and community members are encouraged to visit The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club off Airport Road at 101 Delaware Veterans Boulevard. For more information on events and Club services, individuals are encouraged to visit them on Facebook at Milford BG Clubs or call 302-422-4453.