Kim and Zelda Haines, with bags packed for international travel.
Here the USA team walks in the opening ceremonies where 144 countries participated in the IAAF.
P. Swan Smith photo
by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
January 13, 2000
In November of 1998, Kim Haines took the job of "Chef de Mission" for the National Youth USA Track & Field team at the International Track & Field (IAAF) competition in Bydgoszcz (pronounced Bid-gos) Poland.
"Chef de Mission" translates into Chairman of the USA team.
Haines and his nine member youth executive committee had only seven months to select and make arrangements to take 52 young athletes and a 20 member staff support team on a trip of a lifetime.
His wife, Zelda was part of the staff as an assistant manager.
Kenya won the meet; Russia came in second and the USA and China tied for third place.
"It was an incredible experience," Haines said. "It gives the kids a chance to get to know one another in a good healthy activity. They compete hard, but it's not a do or die thing. One hundred forty-four countries were there playing and having fun together. It gets them on the playing field instead of a battlefield. We need more of this."
"We loved it and we all had so much fun," Zelda said. "We can't wait to do it again.
And they already have plans to do just that.
Kim and Zelda will begin selecting athletes this spring. After the selection, they will track the kids through the spring of 2001. In July of 2001, they will take the team to Debrecen, Hungary. They will also do an onsite visit in Dubrecen next spring.