A Marathon for Miniwanca!

On October 20th, 2013, I am running the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon. I've been tossing around the idea of running 26.2 miles for a few years but recently committed myself to this goal. I've been training for a few months and feel pretty great despite constantly stiff legs and an insatiable appetite (I won't lie, I'm truly enjoying non-stop eating). I, however, am not content running this marathon just to fulfill a personal goal. Hence, I present "A Marathon for Miniwanca"

I am running this marathon to raise money to send kids to the American Youth Foundation's Camp Miniwanca. The AYF is a nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to "inspire people to discover and develop their personal best, to seek balance in mental, physical, social and spiritual living and to make a positive difference in their communities and in the wider world." The organization fulfills its mission through programming at Camp Merrowvista in the the mountains of New Hampshire and at my beloved Camp Miniwanca on Michigan's beautiful coastline.

The stunning Camp Miniwanca sunset over Lake Michigan.

I first attended Camp Miniwanca in 2004 as a participant at the AYF's National Leadership Conference, a week-long teen leadership camp. That week has proven to be one of the most empowering, influential experiences of my life. Being surrounded by a truly inclusive, positive community of mentors and peers was monumental in uncovering my unique identity and gaining the confidence to be that person. Located on Michigan's beautiful west coast, the camp offered the opportunity to both challenge myself and relax amongst good people in a gorgeous setting. I formed many friendships during that week that remain to this day.

The 2011 Leaders-In-Training, Sean, and myself.

Since that incredible first week, I have returned to Miniwanca as a participant, staff member, or volunteer every year. In my varying roles at the camp's numerous programs, I've seen kids of all ages have similar experiences developing those amazingly close friendships, discovering a bit more about themselves, and thriving in the joy that is camp. Taking part in such community and witnessing such moments is continually inspiring and I'd like to spread the "Miniwanca Magic" with others.

My goal is to raise $2,500 for camper scholarships at Camp Miniwanca. I'm incredibly grateful for all I've gained from camp and I am hoping to enable others to have their own MIniwanca journey! There is a quote by W.H. Danforth that runs around the camp - "One enkindled spirit can set hundreds on fire." I'm hoping you will help me on my quest to make some sparks.

I truly appreciate any support and donations. I'm looking forwarding to writing some thank you notes, telling hilarious stories of my mile 22 misery, and sharing my climbing/belaying skills with some donors!

Thanks and be well,
  • Susan Dauber 
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  • Autumn Beechler 
    • $25 
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Shane Hinde 
Lakewood, OH
Registered nonprofit
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