Since 1988, Wings Of America has empowered over 50,000 Native youth runners in the Southwest and across the country to explore the world around them and excel through the power of their own legs.
“I’m still learning what’s possible as a runner,” Executive Director Dustin Martin says. “Above all, I want to continue to run to help Indigenous youth see what a valuable tool the sport can be for knowing one’s self and our homelands. And whether you run in prayer with a group for the protection of sacred places and people, or to know the fastest version of yourself, running can lead to amazing opportunities to represent our communities in a positive light to the outside world.” (source)
“Right now, we have the facilities and knowledge to support everyone from the first grader who has no idea what competitive running is to the person who is dedicating their life to it and is ready to represent their community on the world stage at the highest level of competition. Wings will have our hand in it all.”
Wings Of America’s Work
Wings of America offers non-competitive movement opportunities for children of all ages beginning with elementary extracurricular programs, as well as competitive training and mentorship for high school runners preparing for college readiness. Active programs include:
Flight Club offers before- and after-school running+walking clubs for Native elementary and middle-school-aged students.
Two-day Summer Running & Fitness Camps are hosted in collaboration with Tribal recreation/wellness programs. Camps are led by high school and college-aged Native "facilitators" hired and trained by Wings at the start of each summer.
The Boston "Pursuit" Program enables high school juniors with a passion for running to travel with Wings to Boston during that city’s marathon weekend. Participants visit Boston-area colleges to learn more about how to continue their education while experiencing one of the greatest foot races in the world.
Wings National Team selects eight men and eight women every fall to represent the best Native runners ages 14-19 at the USA Cross Country Championships. Wings also provides assistance for young runners to try out for the team at regional qualifying meets every fall.
Read our coverage of Wings of America here.