2023 V3 Do More Than Tri - Youth Triathlon

2023 V3 Sports Victories

The Last Beam – May 11th

The signed beam swinging into position. Photographed by Luke Day.

Moments before the final structuring beam was installed in the V3 Center, V3 staff and board members signed the beam which is permanently placed on the second floor. It was a milestone in the construction progress and worth celebrating the vision becoming that much more real.

Family Swim & Wellness Fair
– July 15th

A father and his daughter swimming together. Photographed by Awa Mally

The Family Swim and Wellness Fair promoted physical activity, water safety, and overall well-being for families in o North Minneapolis community. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in swim lessons facilitated by qualified instructors, such as Dr. Ayanna Rakhu, ensuring that everyone learned essential water safety skills.

Every month, every week, and every day, V3 is elevating our community through wellness, fitness and education. V3 partnered with NBC Next Sports, Speedo, USA Swimming, Swim UNITED, and Pool and Hot Tub Alliance to host a Family Swim and Wellness Fair. The first 80 attendees were given bikes in partnership with Melanin in Motion, and it was uplifting to see the joy written all over their faces. Staff members even saw young people riding their new bikes the very next day at another community event. These are the joys of giving back to our community.

Discovery Project
– Summer Program

Tamia McLaughlin presenting to the closing ceremony audience. Photographed by Kasey Robinson.

Tamia McLaughlin, V3 alum from North Minneapolis, with a passion for providing education and wisdom to our young people, worked with Founding Director, Erika to envision the program and ensure our young people had the opportunity to learn about professions through the building of our Center. Ms. McLaughlin developed the curriculum, recruited and mentored the interns and ensured the program was beneficial. Eight interns ages 16-22 participated in the 10-week Discovery Project, learning about different careers from local experts and professionals collaborating on the V3 Center development. Participants met with strong black entrepreneurs and amazing and diverse leaders in the construction, architectural, project management, interior design and financial fields, including Calvin Littlejohn, Keon Blasingame, Marcus Mack, Tatiana Murphy and PJ Hill. 

Montana Trip
– July 30th – August 5th

Photo of the group in Montana.

A small group from V3 traveled to Montana for a Swim Immersion/Cultural Exchange program with the Boys & Girls Club of the Flathead Indian Reservation. V3 went to learn more about life on the reservation, connect with the teens and share their experiences with water, hoping to establish relationships that will continue beyond the trip. While in Montana, V3’ers taught swimming, participated in STEAM programming; built a teepee; went to Glacier National Park, the Bison Range, Wildhorse Island and white-water rafting; met the first Black astronaut from NASA and saw first-hand the devastation of wildfires.

The experience created an opportunity for our team to strengthen our skills, grow in our abilities, see new things, build trust, continue to build our foundation and dream. One of the participants is now exploring college at the UM! The next part of the program is to host our new friends in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities to learn about – and with- our large urban Native population, particularly Little Earth Boys & Girls Club.

Do More Than Tri – August 26th

2023 V3 Do More Than Tri - Youth Triathlon
A triathlon participant grabbing Goldy Gopher’s tail. Photographed by Awa Mally.

V3 Sports held our 2nd annual youth triathlon, Do More Than Tri – Finish Strong. The event was held at North Commons Park, with participants from the age of 6-18. They swam, peddled their hearts out and ran. Itw as amazing to see all of the community support that day, encouraging them along their race. Even Goldy Gopher showed up to cheer them on.

In 2007 when V3 Sports began, training young people to compete in triathlons was aprimary focus (along with preparing them for success in life) and V3 would travel to participate in other organization’s races. Now, V3 Sports hosts our very own annual triathlon dedicated to the young people of Minneapolis.

Sneak Peek – October 4th

Mohammed Lawal pointing out features of the V3 Center. Photographed by Awa Mally.

The progress of The V3 Center has been too exciting to keep to ourselves. On October 4th, roughly a year into construction, V3 held a ‘sneak peek’ opportunity for community members, partners, donors, and board members to witness the progress of Phase One and provide feedback. Guests were thrilled to walk through the space, envision the completion, meet up with friends and colleagues, eat delicious food and vibe out to some music.

Rowdy Gaines Pays a Visit
– October 12th

Rowdy Gaines presenting the $50,000 check at The V3 Center. Photographed by Kasey Robinson

Rowdy Gaines, a 3x Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer, paid V3 a visit to present an official check of $50,000 from Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. It isn’t every day that an Olympian steps foot on the V3 soil, so we were sure to capture the moment. Gaines got to see the soon-to-be V3 Center and hear about our upcoming aquatic programs and all the amazing things we’re planning to do in the building.

V3 Sports will have an extensive, intentional and culturally relevant aquatic program, including lessons and playful events. V3 aspires to inspire the next generation of swimmers and who knows, the next Olympic swimmers could be right here in our backyard!

Changemaker of the Year
– November 2nd

Erika L. Binger alongside family, friends, and V3ers. Photographed by TC WISE.

V3 Sports Founding Director, Erika L. Binger, was the recipient of the ‘Changemaker of the Year’ award presented by Twin Cities WISE. Erika is one of the hardest working women in this industry and this award is much deserved as she continues with an ambitious feat to provide one of the largest investments in North Minneapolis and bring it to life. Her genuine heart to serve our North Minneapolis community is awe-inspiring and much needed if we are to elevate our community and bring a new sense of life that authentically provides a welcoming space for our community and the surrounding regions. Congratulations, Erika, this award is much deserved.

$6 Mill Sauer – December 5th

Rendering of The V3 Center, Phase 1 and 2. Rendering by LSE Architects.

The Sauer family generously committed $6 million to support the completion of The V3 Center – Phase One. Another major milestone in developing The V3 Center, a community-inspired health and wellness sports facility serving North Minneapolis and the Twin Cities. V3 is tremendously grateful for such a contribution, as it accelerates our ability to bring the entirety of The V3 Center to life. Thank you again, Sauer Family, for believing in V3.

Malik Rucker Executive Director
– December 7th

Malik Rucker headshot.

If you haven’t heard by now, Malik Rucker was recently appointed as the Executive Director of V3 Sports. Malik has been part of V3 Sports since March 2020 and most recently served as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement. In his previous role, he worked with the community to ensure V3 Sports aligns with the needs, and lifts up the voices of North Minneapolis residents, whether it’s to maintain their fitness, gain access to programs that teach water safety and other life skills, take advantage of out of school time and STEAM options for young people, or serve as a gathering place for community members. In this new role, Mr. Rucker will continue to ensure the vision is fulfilled.

Thank you for reading this month’s blog – the first of 2024! We cannot do this work alone, and if you would like to contribute to the continued success of V3 Sports, we encourage you to donate here.

Every dollar matters and investing in V3 Sports is also a contribution to the growth and development of North Minneapolis and the surrounding regions. We also encourage you to join our mailing list here so that we can keep you up to date on our plans. At present, we are on track for a Spring 2024 opening!

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with everything V3, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn! If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about our Swim to Earn program, please contact ayanna@v3sports.org.

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