Tonawanda News — "I kinda like running," she said with a smile. "And I learned how to do the long jump."
At any given time, one group of younger children might be practicing at the long-jump area, while older students try out the high jump with Ken West track coach Marty Madore, whom Gemmer said has been instrumental in bringing the event to the program.
On Tuesday afternoon, a group of boys somewhere in the middle range took a break from running sprints, sitting in the grass and watching their peers take a turn.
"We do this every year," said Freeman Benders, 8, who followed his older brother into the program. "I've been doing this since I was 3 years old. It's really fun. Once you get into it, you don't want to stop doing it every year."
The three — Benders, Cole Marcotte, 9, and Emmett Marino, 9 — said they've learned how to pace themselves in longer races and "go all out" in the shorter ones, as well as other details about track and field.
"If you thought a shot-put ball isn't heavy ... you thought wrong," Marcotte said.
All three of them said that they'll probably take part in track programs once they enter high school. Gemmer referred to the town program as something of a "feeder program" for local high school track teams, but it's also more than that.
"It's a reason for kids to get up in the summer, get up and do something besides playing video games or turning on the TV. Get 'em up, get 'em outside," he said.
"I enjoy it. I really do. Even if I retire from full time, I'll keep doing this as long as I can. As long as I'm physically able to do it, I'll be doing it."