What: Delaware 4-H community lighted “Walk for Joy”
Date: Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Duration: Approximately one half hour
Where: Boardwalk in front of Atlantic Sands Hotel
101 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach
Contact: Ernie López, 4-H Extension specialist and volunteer coordinator: email@example.com,
Anticipated attendance: 300-500 people
Other: Rain or Shine
Purpose: Raise cancer awareness in a memorial walk to former Delaware 4-H Program Leader Joy Sparks who died of cancer in 2009.
Delaware 4-H members, leaders, staff, family and friends will carry glowing green light sticks and luminaries and “Walk for Joy” along the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk- a health exercise with a multiple purpose to raise awareness for cancer, and pay tribute to Joy Sparks. Sparks, a lifelong Delaware 4-H’er from Kent County, enjoyed a 35-year career with 4-H, beginning as a 4-H agent in New Castle County, and which culminated as the Delaware 4-H Program Leader from 1993 until her death from cancer in 2009.
The significance of her name echoes her lasting effect on Delaware’s 4-H community. Each green light carried symbolizes many lives changed by the 4-H program under her guidance. The lights and their carriers illuminate how she sparked the joy of 4-H in Delaware youth and adults and inspired others to lead through volunteerism. Sparks elevated the Delaware 4-H Youth Development to a level of national respect and recognition. During her tenure as program leader, Delaware 4-H’s impact and reputation rose significantly and became a national model for America’s largest youth development program.
The idea to Walk for Joy arose spontaneously during the planning sessions for the 2010 4-H Northeast Regional Volunteer Forum (NERVF), a four-day weekend of training support for adult volunteers from 12 surrounding states. The forum begins on Thursday, Nov. 4 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 7.
“While Joy was a dedicated and beloved member of the 4-H family here in Delaware, her reputation and great work during her career earned her respect and praise from friends throughout the Northeast and around the country,” said Ernie Lopez, University of Delaware 4-H Extension specialist and volunteer coordinator. “This is a fitting tribute to a caring and capable person who always put others above herself. We miss her dearly.”
In addition to honoring Joy’s memory and influence, the walk is an opportunity to raise cancer awareness and promote 4-H’s mission to encourage healthy lifestyles through exercise. The entire Delaware 4-H community, from all three counties, has been invited to join the 300 NERVF attendees in the lighted walk. Weather and tide permitting, participants plan to form a large J-O-Y in the sand. Members of the Sparks family will be on hand.