Real change happens when local communities care. When Camp Fire Teens in Action become involved in the change, sparks fly. Or, in the case of Teens in Action Camp Fire Central Coast of California, colors fly.
According to the Camp Fire teens, who organized the Save Our Park Color Run this past April, the event was the perfect opportunity to tell their community they were ready to “take back the park” from the negative reputation the park had suffered for years—most of which was due to gang violence. The color run was organized by Teens in Action to encourage the community to engage in healthy habits and family-friendly activities.

For those who haven’t participated in a color run, they’re fun. They’re also messy, which is part of the fun. Event coordinators mix colorful cornstarch powder in advance and then pelt the runners with color as soon as they complete half the run. At the five-lap mark around the park, runners are sprayed with water, and then pelted again with the powdered color dye. Again, it’s messy.

“We want to make this color run bring attention to the park as something positive in our community, instead of the reputation it has with drug trafficking and gang violence,” Crista, one of the Camp Fire teens, shared. “We’re taking back our park, and this is our way of telling families they can feel safe here.”

While this was the first color run Teens in Action had hosted, the group has plans for other family-friendly events, such as Paint Expression Day, Camp-Out Day, Art Day, Obstacle Course Day, Reading Day, and Absolutely Incredible Kid Day.

Ivan, a senior at the local high school, said that he joined Teens in Action at the urging of his friends and to contribute to community service. He summed up the day and Teens in Action’s contributions to their community by saying, “It feels great getting everyone involved here today. It’s really an excellent experience, bringing this park from a negative reputation to a positive.” From negative to positive, it is indeed. It is also yet another shining example of how Camp Fire is changing communities . . . one spark—or one splash of color—at a time.