It started as a suggestion from a Florida A&M University professor and turned into a opportunity for the Tallahassee community.
“This summer, I was looking for an internship. I was talking to professor (Yanela) Gordon and she suggested to me that I should start a track camp,” said Jeanna Dorcelin, the catalyst for the program.
The senior from West Palm Beach took Gordon’s advice and began putting the FAMU mini-track camp together. Dorcelin put a plan into action, and soon she was on her way to developing a track camp on behalf of FAMU’s women’s track team.
“It was pretty easy to start, but it took a lot of planning,” said Dorcelin, who runs the 400-meter relay.
The camp’s inaugural venture is Saturday at the Robert “Pete” Griffin track. Alvin Hollins Jr., assistant athletic director for External Affairs, approved the event and has high hopes for its future.
“This could be a big step that could lead into something big for the university. It generates a lot of exposure and excitement about the track team in the community,” Hollins said.
This event will welcome the Tallahassee area with open arms. The camp is open to anyone who wants to get a taste of track and field life.
“The camp is open to anyone interested in track – old, young, teachers, students whoever. Everyone is welcome,” Dorcelin said.
Getting the community involved was something the team should always try to do, said women’s head track coach Maicel Malone.
“It is important for the community to see our campus and for us to showcase ourselves,” Malone said.
The track team is hoping that the welcoming approach will help bring people from the community to explore their inner athlete.”It feels good to do something like this. It should be a lot of fun,” Dorcelin said. “We are expecting a big turnout. It’s for every one across Tallahassee.”
The team wants to re-establish its identity after a coaching change last season.
“One thing we really wanted to do is to get our name out there. Coach Malone came in last season, and with a new coach we wanted to make sure we got some good (publicity) for the team,” Dorcelin said.
The team is hoping the event will help it to establish itself in the community and on the track.
“Last year we felt kind of underrated, but we plan to do big things,” Dorcelin said.
Although Saturday will not be about the team working for the next season, they expect to see every one come into the camp with the right mindset.
“It will be fun, but it will serious too. We expect people to come out and take the workouts serious while they enjoy themselves,” Dorcelin said.
However, the serious tone to the workouts shouldn’t scare newcomers to the track.
“There is no experience needed. You just have to want to learn and have some desire,” Dorcelin said.
Malone said the camp will give participants a taste of what it is like to be a track athlete.
“They are going to learn the basics and meet our student athletes,” Malone said.
The camp will feature events such as hurdles, throwing, jumps and sprints. While the session isn’t necessarily a try out, some athletes that show promise will have a chance to show what they can do.
“This isn’t a try out, but walk-ons are always welcome,” Malone said.
The camp is from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Admission is free.