August 19, 2017
Community
84° Partly Cloudy
  • Whitehurst community members were all smiles following the completion of Community Olympics kayak races at Cape Arthur’s beach.
    Gracie Fairfax
    Whitehurst community members were all smiles following the completion of Community Olympics kayak races at Cape Arthur’s beach.
  • Fair Oaks competitors made a quick switch of teammates in the kayak relay.
    Fair Oaks competitors made a quick switch of teammates in the kayak relay.
  • Community Olympics participants launched their kayaks with the help of fellow team members.
    Community Olympics participants launched their kayaks with the help of fellow team members.

Fourth Community Olympics Brings Together Friends Old And New

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
View Bio
August 10, 2017

Children cheering on their parents in a kayak race may sound a bit like a role reversal — but this was precisely the scene at the Community Olympics. The brainchild of Betz Wild, the Community Olympics is a competition between her community of Whitehurst and the communities of Fair Oaks, Oakleigh Forest, and the combined team of Cape Arthur and North Cape Arthur – all of which are nestled on the peninsula behind Severna Park Marketplace.

Inspired by the enjoyment she found in her adult field hockey league, Wild thought it would be a good idea to bring adult competition to her neighborhood and the surrounding communities.

“Our kids go to school together. They play sports together,” Wild said. “So we all know each other and I thought it was just a natural thing to get us all together for something fun.”

Wild had good friends in nearby communities who shared in her vision for a Community Olympics, and a team of people came together to make the idea a reality. The first Olympics were held in 2005, followed by another Olympics in 2006. After a hiatus, the Olympics made a comeback in 2015 and now 2017. This year’s event lasted from July 8 through July 22.

The team effort includes about 50 captains – one from every neighborhood per event – and seven representatives – composed of people from each community – who work to make events like cornhole, biking, kayaking, swimming and softball run smoothly.

“There are so many people with hands on things, but it still gets crazy,” Wild said.

Mike Garland served as a captain for the bike race this year – his second time participating in the Community Olympics.

“It brings together old friends that we’ve known for 10 years that we haven’t seen because they live in different neighborhoods, and then it introduces a bunch of new people to the neighborhood that you don’t really have any other access to meeting,” Garland said.

Many community members grew up together and have stayed in the same area. “Amazingly, in our neighborhood, I think we have 15 of us that grew up in the neighborhood and we now live back in Whitehurst as adults raising our kids,” Wild said. “We’re not the only neighborhood though.”

Team colors were assigned to each community, and members represented their colors by wearing Under Armour T-shirts designed by Jamie Bragg, an area resident and vice president of team sports for Under Armour. As an Under Armour employee, Bragg was able to order the shirts at a discounted price. The proceeds from T-shirt sales raised about $5,000 for the Severna Park Community Center in 2015 and about $1,000 this year, as many people reused their shirts from 2015.

Keeping with the theme of raising money for the community, this year’s cornhole competition, hosted by Oakleigh Forest, included a food drive for SPAN. Competitors also raised money for the SPCA by selling drinks.

Goska’s Liquors even got in on the fun this year as a sponsor and provided can koozies to participants. Each competitor with a koozie was eligible for 10 percent off their purchase at Goska’s during the two-week Olympic run.

On July 22, the two-week event concluded with volleyball, won for the fourth time by Whitehurst; a visit from Jenos Steaks’ new Jeno Raider food truck; and a cooking competition complete with categories such as “best use of corn.” Although the traditional ceremonial aspects of the last day were rained out, community members spent time laughing and enjoying one another’s company. This year’s overall winner was a four-time Community Olympics champion: Oakleigh Forest.

Participants agreed that the Community Olympics are centered on bringing people together despite the competitive nature of the events.

“I’ve made a lot of new friends in the other neighborhoods from some of the games we’ve been playing,” said Fair Oaks resident Praveen Duggal. “Despite the competition, there’s a lot of really, really good people.”


Sidebar Ad

Faces of the Voice

  • Zach Sparks
    Assistant Editor
    @Sparks907
    @Sparks907
    @Sparks907
  • Dianna Lancione
    Publisher
    parkiewoman
  • Brian Lancione
    V.P., Operations
  • Lonnie Lancione
    Publisher
  • William Nauman
    Creative Director
  • Larry Sells
    Vice President, Sales and Development
    @LarrySells1
    @LarrySells1
    @LarrySells1
  • Colin Murphy
    Sports Editor
    @ArVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @SPVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @PVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
  • Dylan Roche
    Editor
    @dylroche
    @dylroche
    @dylroche

Latest Tweets

  • SPVoice

    This school year, SP Elementary welcomes a new principal and Magothy River Middle welcomes a new vice principal!… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…
  • SPVoice

    Andreanna Roros recently joined students from around the U.S. at the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…
  • SPVoice

    Check your mailboxes. The August issue of the Severna Park Voice comes out today. https://t.co/5WFGvOBkOy

Events Calendar

Request an Advertising Quote

Please do not add dashes. (ex: 4106479400)
Do not enter anything here.
Search Articles
Search Authors
Search Blog