The African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child. On Sunday, February 24, at the Marco Y, 228 people came together to make the ninth annual Tour de Marco a resounding success that was enjoyed by everyone involved.
Tour director Tony DeLucia, the Marco Y’s community engagement coordinator, is quick to pass around the credit. But it was his ability to pull the community together that ensured the event’s success.
“The Marco Island Academy, the Marco Island Police Department, the ambulance crew,” DeLucia started. “The Marco Island Academy Key Club, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island, sent 17 students to help out. Key Marco was again nice enough to open their arms to the Tour de Marco. We had 27 adult volunteers.”
Jim Seegers, who was tour director for the second Tour de Marco in 2012, was impressed by the MIA students.
“Some of them had never volunteered for anything,” Seegers said. “They were excited about it.”
Temperatures that started in the 70s and ended up in the 80s welcomed the riders, who took part in 15 and 30 mile tours that covered the entire island. Sixty percent of the riders rode the 30-miler.
The six-mile ride through Key Marco was a highlight for many of the riders, who were riding there for the first time. Riders who opted for the 30-mile course also enjoyed riding through Goodland and the hilly estates section of the island.
Tour de Marco benefits the Marco Y. And, thanks to a number of sponsors who DeLucia has lined up, almost all of the entry fees go directly to Y programming.
“Probably 95 percent of money raised will go to the Y’s scholarship fund for programs, activities and camps,” DeLucia said. “That’s very good.”
Fifteen states and Canada were represented in this year’s tour. DeLucia is already looking forward to next year’s event.
“Next year is the tenth annual, and it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” DeLucia promised.
The date for next year’s tour is February 16.