Members of the 2011 West Irondequoit Central School District team gather for a team photo at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge.
West Irondequoit adding to tradition
of fun, fitness, camaraderie at May 31 race
ROCHESTER, May 14, 2012 — As it prepares for the 22nd annual JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge in Rochester, the West Irondequoit Central School District is building a team that is large in numbers, spirit and support.
Already, 62 members of the suburban Rochester school district have signed on to participate in the 3.5-mile corporate team road race on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology on Thursday, May 31. That number could well grow between now and race day as company captain Barb Reardon and her colleagues push recruitment levels to a sprint finish.
"I have a meeting this morning with a colleague, Carol Crumlish, who is helping put together a video to encourage staff to join our team," Reardon said when contacted about this year's Corporate Challenge. "We do have some fun with our advertising campaign as we work to inspire everyone to join us. This year we are preparing a motivational video, and another colleague, MaryBeth Sadler, wrote the song for our video to the tune of "These Boots were made for walking!"
The fun video is just part of a campaign to recruit staff from a well-respected school district to be part of a team for Rochester's annual celebration of corporate camaraderie and teamwork.
Last year, Rochester's Corporate Challenge attracted 8,952 runners and walkers from 393 companies. The numbers once again made Rochester a leader in the 13-city Corporate Challenge Series in terms of the ratio of the race turnout to the area's population. And, as historically has been the case in Rochester, educational teams — including women's team champion Greece Central School District — accounted for a major component of the entries.
Members of Listwood School receive an award for participation at the 2011 JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge in Rochester.
It is a tradition to which West Irondequoit has long been an important contributor.
The district has had a team at the Rochester Corporate Challenge since the days when the race was held at the city's Highland Park. But, its sizable teams don't just happen by accident. For starters, Reardon has had some talented and enthusiastic help as she leads an organizational effort to make participating as easy — and fun — as possible.
"Art teacher Lauren Reinert designed our t-shirt, the art department always steps up to help dress us in style!" said Reardon. "At our tent, we'll be serving Dinosaur BBQ because — we like it. We hold a contest each year and award prizes to the building with the highest percentage of participation."
The team also has the strong backing of Superintendent Jeff Crane, who not only is participating again this year, but goes the extra mile to make the event more special for other team members.
"Our superintendent is a strong supporter, personally providing financial support for the food, t-shirts and tent to make the evening affordable for our employees," said Reardon.
It is a big effort. But, it is worth doing for several reasons, said Reardon.
"We all do what we do because we believe in our kids and education, whether we teach, plan curriculum, keep the building/offices running smoothly, prepare lunches or keep the sports fields and buildings in good repair," she said. "But, we're spread out between ten schools and another three buildings, and the Corporate Challenge gives us a chance to come together and reconnect."
That team building aspect is even more important because of where Rochester's Corporate Challenge falls in the school calendar for West Irondequoit.
"We're heading into the final months of the school year," said Reardon. "It's hectic. So, it's nice to take a pause and relax together."
And, there is also the chance for team members to give back to the community, with the Corporate Challenge this year benefitting the Greater Rochester Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"Our district employees are strong supporters of the United Way, our superintendent is the chair of the Educational Division," said Reardon. "The Corporate Challenge allows us to support another organization that benefits so many in our community and around the world."
So, from videos to Dinosaur BBQ to custom-designed shirts, West Irondequoit will have a big presence that will be enjoyed — once again — at Rochester's Corporate Challenge.