"Living the Dream", Mark Springer Youth Travel Grand Program deadline is March 30, Apply now! release from USATF, note by Larry Eder

"Living the Dream" is a Mark Springerism. Mark Springer was one the most low-key human beings to ever work at USA Track & Field. Mark was a jack of all trades at USA Track & Field, but he was known for his limitless energy working on Youth and Junior programs. He also held the longest tenure as an employee at USATF, from 1986 to 2004.

springer500x285.jpgSandy & Mark Springer, photo courtesy of Kidsrunning.com

I knew of Mark Springer by 1987, and I worked with Mark from about 1990 and up until his untimely auto accident on September 10, 2004 (he passed away on December 13, 2004). I never got to meet his wife, Sandy, who he spoke of often. Mark Springer was able to get USATF to sponsor our largest poster program and worked hard to help us get support for our high school publication, Athletes Only. 

Mark had the dryest wit I ever experienced. Our phone conversations were always about something sports related, but then, the stories would start, and Mark's " Living the Dream" was my favorite. The stories were hysterical, and his " have to get back to my nap" comments were legendary. It was only now, that I found out he told former USATF Prez Bill Roe about need to return to the REM part of his day. " Springer Global Headquarters" was another comment I heard.

Mark's wit was one of his most amazing talents. Mark had many. He was the living wikipedia of USA Track & Field. The guys' brain worked like flypaper and he just had to pull it forward to help someone out of a jam, a missing bit USATF minutae or a procedure.  

I use the term, "Living the Dream" constantly. Mark would have been honored about the Youth Travel Grant. He would have also been a bit embarrassed. He did not like the limelight.

 So, when you apply for it, know the person it was named after was a man among men, who cared for all around him. He is missed terribly by those who knew him and love him.

To learn more about Mark Springer, please see

The deadline to apply for the 2012 Mark Springer Youth Travel Grant program is quickly approaching. The program works to aid in bringing athletes to the following USATF National Youth and Junior Championships:

June 15-17: USA Junior Outdoor T&F Championships Bloomington, IN

June 26-July 1: USA Youth Outdoor T&F Championships Arlington, TX

July 23-29: USATF National Junior Olympic T&F Championships Baltimore, MD

December 8: USATF National Junior Olympic XC Championships Albuquerque, NM

Named after the former USATF Director of Grass Roots Programs & Planning and originator of the program, the Mark Springer Youth Travel Grant Program offers travel assistance grants to eligible youth clubs across the country. Since 2000, the grants have helped clubs offset expenses related to travel to USATF National Championships. During this time, more than $380,000 has been awarded to more than 360 clubs, with an average grant of $1,000, making it one of the most popular grass roots efforts and benefits of club membership.

We encourage you to apply early and highlight how the grant funds may be used for deserving members of your club. If your club has been awarded a travel grant in the past, we encourage you to provide history of how the funds were utilized (e.g. how many additional athletes were able to attend because of the grant, medal winners, etc.). Please note that these grants may only be used for the championships listed above and receipts for travel expenses must be submitted in order to receive grant reimbursement. Additionally, clubs awarded a grant must participate in the Win With Integrity program by having their athletes complete the Win With Integrity pledge form which will be provided upon receipt of the grant.

Please complete the application and submit it to the USATF National Office no later than April 5, 2012. To be eligible for this program, your 2012 USATF club membership must be renewed by March 30th.

We wish every USATF member club the best of luck this year and look forward to seeing you at our National Championships. Thank you for your continued support of USATF!

To download the application, go to: http://usatf.org/usatf/files/d9/d99dbbe4-736e-458d-8e17-c02a446f3bdf.pdf

Please complete this application and return it no later than April 5, 2012 to: [email protected]

Note: You can also fax the completed application to USATF, Attn: Dana Leenheer, at 1-800-833-1466 or mail forms to:

USA Track & Field
Attn: Youth Programs
132 E. Washington, Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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