The Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club was honored Nov. 12 during the Gloucester County Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award reception at Auletto Caterers in Deptford.
The reception was held to support the programs of the Garden State Council Boy Scouts of America in South Jersey. Harrison Township Mayor Lou Manzo read a proclamation at the event acknowledging the club’s community work, also recognized by state Sen. Steve Sweeney.
“It’s just been phenomenal,” said Michelle Powell, co-founder and executive director of the club. “The recognition that we got last night was really special to be acknowledged by the Boy Scouts, by the state and the township.”
The club began almost 10 years ago, sparked by a simple goal to give women experience in the triathlon world. Over the years, it grew into one of the largest all-female triathlon clubs in the nation, transitioned to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and created countless events to support women and the community.
“We offer a place for women to come together in a very supportive and caring environment,” said Powell.
The club includes people of all ages, ranging from teenagers to a few members who are in their ‘70s. In addition to empowering women through exercise, the group each year focuses on a different charitable cause. This year, the club wanted to continue its mission to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and drug addiction by meeting with mental health professionals and providing educational workshops.
“Our goal is to get women moving, particularly women who have put their families and careers first and now want to do something for themselves,” Powell explained.
The Distinguished Citizen Award is presented to individual community leaders who provide outstanding civic service to the adult and/or youth in the community, according to the scout’s website.
Those who receive the citizen of the year award are not necessarily Boy Scout volunteers, but individuals who personify what the scouts stand for, including good citizenship, outstanding moral fiber and dedication to others, according to the scout website.
For more information on the triathlon club, visit www.mullicahilltriclub.com or search the club’s name on Facebook.