MRA honors Schoedel Award winners

By VICKI SHEFFIELD
Guest Columnist

Cheryl Griffin (center) accepts the Charles E. Schoedel Award from MRA board members (pictured from left to right) Tammy Bonzheim, Jack Ball, Dursa Marshall and Laura Petrosky.

Each year the Manistee Recreation Association presents the Charles E. Schoedel Outstanding Service Award to an individual and an organization. The award represents their commitment and dedication to the recreational quality of residents in Manistee County. Their recognized contribution may be in the form of time, talent, monetary funding or political activism in support of youth/adult recreation programs.

It is an honor for the MRA board of directors to announce our 2011 recipients: Cheryl Griffin and Onekama Consolidated Schools.

Cheryl Griffin was selected for her work with Girls on the Run, an international program for young girls ages 8 to 12, founded by Molly Barker in 1996 and brought to life in Manistee County in the spring of 2009. Cheryl is responsible for recruiting coaches, setting up teams of girls at each of the county schools, educating the volunteers with the curriculum and planning a 5K run as the finale to the course. Each year Cheryl attempts to hold the run in a different community. This year’s run will be held in Onekama on May 19.

The program relies on positive female adults willing to devote 10 weeks of their time each year to help improve the self-esteem, fitness level and self-confidence of our local girls in the various school districts. Two days per week, throughout the 10-week course, the girls meet for 45 minutes filled with motivational lessons followed by 45 minutes of physical activity. The goals are to educate and empower girls to make thoughtful, healthy choices in life and complete a 5K. In the past three years the number of participants has grown from 94 to 137 and in 2011 the program was blessed with 22 volunteers.

Cheryl, representing the District Health Department #10, is appreciative of its partners, volunteers and sponsors that make this program possible. And thank you to Cheryl for coordinating all these efforts and making a difference in the lives of these young girls.

Onekama’s Rick Brandis (center) accepts the Charles E. Schoedel Award from MRA board members (pictured from left to right) Tammy Bonzheim, Jack Ball, Dursa Marshall and Laura Petrosky.

Onekama Consolidated Schools was chosen as our organization recipient for its continued support and cooperation with other local organizations and promotion of fitness to all residents. Onekama provides use of its maintained athletic fields not only to the MRA (T-ball and soccer), but also to the Manistee County Little League (baseball and softball) and Pop Warner football. Onekama maintains two tennis courts that were gifted to the schools years ago, installing new wind screens this past summer.

Two years ago Onekama opened the doors to a brand new fitness center encouraging memberships and offering a wide array of fitness classes for all ability levels. The fitness facility, including the walking track, is widely used by the public before and after school and on weekends. Hats off to this local school district for promoting fitness beyond the scope of its students.

Established in 1981, this award was named for the late Charles E. Schoedel in gratitude for his long-term service to both the MRA and to the residents in Manistee County. He served on the MRA board for more than 30 years. During his long tenure, Mr. Schoedel served as an active board member and has had a great impact on the development of the MRA as a strong, leisure service agency.

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