The more parents begin to travel for races, the more concern they have for babysitters for the kids. Fortunately, there is a way to balance the two: RaceKids Day Camp, a program for children who travel to races with parents. The camp counselors offers fun, educational and interactive care the day of the race. We caught up with founder Brandy Vaillancourt, who shares the inspiration behind creating the RaceKids program.
Women’s Running: Tell me about the inspiration behind founding RaceKids, Ltd.
Brandy Vaillancourt: In 2013, I was leaving to run the Chicago Marathon, and my son was six years old at the time. He was so sad that he could not come to Chicago with me because there would be no one at the race to watch him. It led me to think that I’m not the only marathon parent who has this problem.
WR: What did you do when you realized you wanted to help other parents on race day?
BV: I decided to talk to my son’s daycare provider, Phyllis. I told her my idea of creating a day camp at races and asked if she wanted to partner up with me. She agreed, and we started RaceKids. We work together to create the activities and the schedule for the kids. We host the day camp at a hotel where the majority of racers would stay at to make it as convenient as possible for the parents. We provide catered breakfast and lunch for the children, specific to their needs. To hire counselors for the day, we interview and screen them extensively, making sure the kids have a safe and positive experience at the day camp!
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WR: How has RaceKids grown since 2013?
BV: I knew I wanted RaceKids to be associated with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. It is one of the largest traveling race series and the Holy Grail of running. I was put in contact with some of the staff, flew from Canada to San Diego to pitch RaceKids to them, and by June 2014, we were signed on as a partner.
WR: What are the hours for RaceKids Day Camp on race day?
BV: If you are running the half marathon, we will watch your children up to 90 minutes before the start of the race and look after them until 12 p.m. If you are running the marathon, we will watch them until 2 p.m. This allows parents plenty of time to complete the race, while also having the freedom to enjoy pre- and post-race festivities. We also have a Mini Day Camp, which is on day two of the race expo, and we watch your children as you pick up your race packet.
WR: What are some activities the kids really enjoy at the day camp?
BV: The kids make race medals to give to their parents! So not only do moms and dads have their Rock ‘n’ Roll medal to wear, but their children will also present them with one at the end of the race.
WR: How can families sign up to use RaceKids?
BV: We are currently partnered with eight Rock ‘n’ Roll races. Registration is available on Racekids.org. From now until Mother’s Day (May 10), there is a 30% promo code, GIFT4MOM30, and is eligible for the San Diego, Chicago, and Virginia Beach races, both half and full.