2016 Tour de Vail – Roll and Stroll a hit in Robbinsdale!

2016 Tour de Vail – Roll and Stroll a hit in Robbinsdale!

Tiny tots enjoying the sun as they wheeled along in their strollers. Team Roadkill’s gregarious cyclists leading the way around a beautiful lake. Those were just a few of the wide spectrum of supporters joining the 15th annual Tour De Vail – Roll & Stroll for Mental Health to help raise money, hope and awareness for adults with mental illness. Creating a rainbow effect dressed in the Tour de Vail tradition of colorful tie-dye t-shirts, event participants enjoyed the gorgeous weather on Saturday, July 9th as they rode, rolled and strolled around Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale.

“Tour de Vail has evolved in so many ways since we launched the event fifteen years ago,” said Vicky Couillard, Executive Director of Vail Place. “What’s remained the same is the feeling of exuberance we experience every year. From face painting to live music, it’s really a tradition of celebration. We celebrate our families, volunteers, donors, friends and especially members. Tour de Vail helps us mark all the fabulous milestones we’ve accomplished in mental health, as an organization and as individuals.”

This year’s event marked the first Tour de Vail held in partnership with Whiz Bang Days,  the City of Robbinsdale’s annual celebration. The decision to move was made after much deliberation by the Tour de Vail Committee,  a group comprised of Vail Place staff, members, board members, and volunteers, who meet once a month throughout the year to plan and execute Tour de Vail. Emily Pearl, co-chair of the Committee, initially presented the idea after seeing it as an opportunity for Vail Place to have more of a presence in Robbinsdale. Having the event in this location would also compliment the agency’s growing collaboration with North Memorial Health Center. “After Emily presented the idea, the Clubhouse members on the Committee and I went to both Clubhouses to ask for their input,” said Seana Fern, Agency Events Coordinator of Vail Place. “Both communities weighed the pros and the cons of moving to a new location, and ultimately the pros won.”

Seana Fern, Event Coordinator

Seana moved into the Agency Events Coordinator position in April after she spent over a year working side-by-side with members as a Community Support Specialist in the Hopkins Clubhouse.The relationships she built as a Clubhouse staff member have helped her encourage member engagement including participation in administrative tasks and event planning “I feel the heart of our agency lays within our Clubhouses. It’s so important that our members are engaged not only in the day-to-day tasks of the Clubhouse, but in the work of the agency whenever possible.” Seana makes sure to spend time in each Clubhouse at least one afternoon a week to continue to strengthen engagement with members.

“In early June we hosted a tie-dye block party where members and staff from both Clubhouses, other agency staff and 20 volunteers from Target came together to tie-dye shirts and make bracelets for the event,” said Seana. “In just over an hour we  tie-dyed more than 300 shirts and 200+ bracelets. We spent the rest of the block party eating pizza, singing, dancing and celebrating our community. It made me happy to see all parts of our agency collaborating in such a fun and unique way. I hope I can continue to encourage these opportunities in my new role.”

The 15th annual Tour de Vail – Roll and Stroll is the most successful in the event’s history raising over $27,000 with donations still rolling in. 130 people registered for the event, including 15 fundraising teams.