The Hill Y, in Westminster, has been a place of discovery for 15-year-old Jeanette Lacasse, of Finksburg. She’s learned to work out in the gym; and enjoy water aerobics, leadership club, and, recently, the rewards of volunteering.
“My first community service project was clearing the track around the Y and I enjoyed it very much,” she said. And last year, she and her mother Francine Ingallina, volunteered at the annual Westminster Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K foot race.
“It was fun; it was really exciting,” Lacasse said. “Me and my mom and my sister were handing out water at the water station and everybody was coming by so fast so fast.”
This year, Lacasse is doing what she can to get as many people involved in the 2018 Turkey Trot, which takes place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day. In fact, she’s the youngest Turkey Trot Ambassador in the central Maryland region.
Ambassadors “help to promote the race and register people for the race,” said Sara Milstein, chief marketing and branding officer of the Y in Central Maryland. “They do Individual peer-to-peer fundraising and that’s what this young lady’s role is.”
The funds raised by the Turkey Trot go back into the community, Milstein said, supporting Y memberships and camps, and other activities for families who otherwise could not afford them. It’s one of seven Turkey Trots held in the Central Maryland area she said.
“Last year, about $102,000 was raised by Turkey Trot runners, sponsors and donors in Westminster alone,” with 2,295 runners, Milstein said. “This translates into 395 Carroll County residents helped in 2017 through the generosity of their neighbors.”
“The whole point of being an ambassador is to collect money for the Turkey Trot, which donates the money to less fortunate families so they can enjoy the amenities at the Y that me and my family members at the Y enjoy as well,” Lacasse added, noting she and her mother went door to door to raise money. “We’ve received $400 in donations. We’re still going.”
The race also raises money from runners’ registrations — $45 for adults, and $25 children and teens, ages 7 through 17 — available online at ymdturkeytrot.org/events/westminster or at the Hill Y, 1719 Sykesville Road, Westminster.
Children younger than 7 are $5 whenever you register.
The Turkey Trot run itself will start at 8:30 a.m. at Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, and finish at the Hill Y.
The 5K race is suitable for competitive runners and fun family participants alike, according to Milstein.
“People come out and walk, they bring their kids, they bring strollers, but people also come out in costume. I think because it is Thanksgiving, you have this iconic American holiday that everyone can participate in,” she said. “It’s a big community bonding event and it’s giving back to the community, so it hits on all fronts.”
“I think it’s good for people to come out and run for the Turkey Trot, just to be with their family and have fun,” Lacasse added. “Have a good time and get some exercise before you eat that big Thanksgiving dinner.”