When Taybor Parker saw kids wearing Blue Thunder uniforms and cars sporting Blue Thunder signs, his curiosity was sparked. Blue Thunder is a Parks and Recreation competitive track club that serves Columbia area youth 7 to 17. A senior at Mizzou majoring in Biology, 21 year old Taybor had been on the track team at his Joplin high school. He had also volunteered for three summers at the Southwest Missouri Running Camp near Joplin.
With a background in running, Taybor wanted to give back to the community and make an impact on kids. Volunteering to help, Taybor spent the next four months as the 11 and up distance coach for Blue Thunder. Three of his team members became regional champions, and several qualified nationally. “The kids totally loved Taybor,” Camren Cross, a Parks and Recreation staff member who worked with Taybor said. “An excellent quiet leader by example, Taybor had a great impact on the kids. Most of us coaches are far from them in age, so for them to see a younger man step in and do a great job was a big plus and a good example.”
Taybor enjoyed the opportunity to work with Columbia’s youth and would like to volunteer again. “Those kids taught me more than I taught them,” Taybor said. “They have an upbeat attitude and you get excited working with them.”
~Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson