Tracy Walsh is best known in the Bill Koch Youth Ski League for her role as New England Bill Koch Festival “relay wrangler.” Tracy has taken on this role while serving as District Chair for Central Vermont (CEVT) and as a coach and parent with the Ford Sayre Club. Tracy embodies the nature of the Bill Koch League, which is one of volunteerism, a deep love of the sport, and a lifelong commitment to the nordic community. That is why NENSA is pleased to announce that Tracy is this year’s recipient of NENSA’s Bill Koch League Leadership Award.
“Tracy has been a constant advocate for all children in NEBKL for many years. As District Chair of CEVT and representing one of the largest BKL clubs in New England, Tracy’s insight has been invaluable to our NEBKL Committee and Community. Specifically, Tracy gets it! Her first thought is always ‘what is best for the children’. Her vision is clear and her actions reflect that. NEBKL’s mission is to foster a love of nordic skiing in our youth with a healthy respect for each child’s emotional, physical and social needs and growth. Many nod their heads and say ‘of course’ to this, but Tracy takes it a step further and effortlessly radiates this mission in all that she does for NEBKL. Her actions are often behind the scenes, but they are always thoughtful and purposeful,” said Mary Anne Levins, the former Bill Koch League Committee Chair and longtime Bill Koch Festival Race Secretary. “Thank you, Tracy, for being so dedicated to the children of NEBKL and congratulations!”
District Chairs bring together ideas and concerns from the region they represent in New England to form the New England Bill Koch League Committee. Tracy has been a valuable District Chair, and constantly brings the conversations back to the true purpose of the league. She always puts the best interests of young skiers at the forefront of her decisions and has been a strong voice on the committee. “Tracy is someone who I can count on at every meeting, and every Festival. She is a dedicated volunteer and leader in our New England Community. She is someone who has a lot of experience and I rely on her for sound advice,” says Amber Freeman, the NENSA staff liaison to the Bill Koch League Committee.
Tracy’s role as “relay wrangler” at the annual Bill Koch Festival brings out the “all business” side of her personality. For many skiers, the Festival relay is the first time they have experienced a relay race. The chaos of the relay causes concern for safety of the skiers. Whether its tagging off to another skier who they may have just met, keeping kids warm, or finding their partner, Tracy is there to help things go smoothly. Years ago, Tracy took on this role of being the calm at the center of the storm.
“Tracy has a heart of gold, a voice like a megaphone, and presence of grace under pressure. She knows why she is there and what is important and doesn’t forget that along the way. We’ve worked alongside each other for longer than I care to confess in the relay zone and somehow when I walk into the start corral I feel better when I see Tracy,” said Ann Celi, co-relay wrangler at the Bill Koch Festival, and Eastern Massachusetts Bill Koch League parent and coach. “Congratulations to Tracy on this much deserved honor!”
Tracy has been a volunteer in the Ford Sayre Club and on the Ford Sayre Council. Arrica van Citters, who is also a Ford Sayre Coach said that “Tracy is a longtime volunteer for the Ford Sayre program, and has taken on many roles within the organization. She is currently the Chair for the Ford Sayre Council – where she helps to oversee the full spectrum of nordic, alpine, and jumping programs. Within the Ford Sayre BKL program, Tracy is the co-lead coach for the Kindergarten-2nd grade program, which teaches xc-skiing to over 100 children a year. Tracy excels at harnessing the raw energy of young children to create confident and capable skiers.”
From all of the staff at NENSA, we would like to say a huge congratulations to Tracy on a well deserved honor and thank you for all you have done for the New England nordic ski community over the years!