At the June 17, 2019 Hayward Community School Board meeting, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) presented a check for $42,660 to Hayward Superintendent of Schools Craig Olson.
Ben Popp, ABSF executive director, made the donation on behalf of the ABSF board of directors and in appreciation of the collaborative relationship between the school district and the ABSF.
“One of the core tenets of the ABSF’s mission is to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for people of all ages, especially for our youth,” Popp said. “The ABSF’s collaboration with the Hayward Community School District provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. Just as the school district supports the Birkie, the ABSF is pleased to support the school district whenever we can.”
Each year as part of the American Birkebeiner week of festivities, the Hayward Community Schools play a part in helping to host the world in Hayward. In February 2019, Hayward School facilities and grounds were used for spectator parking, the Birkie Expo, skier registration, bib pick-up and as a central bus hub location during Birkie events.
“It takes a village to host the estimated 40,000 skiers and spectators who come to Hayward for the American Birkebeiner week of Nordic festivities,” Popp said. “From warm spaces and infrastructure to volunteers and services, community support is ultimately what allows the Birkie to happen every year and we simply couldn’t do it without our collaboration with the school district. We are incredibly grateful for their ongoing support of Birkie events.
Olson said, “I continue to be amazed by the great support that the American Birkebeiner consistently shows to the Hayward Community School District. The ABSF’s commitment to the Hayward School District and the community is clear and very appreciated. I look forward to many more years of being part of such a great, world-class event.”
The Birkie has grown to encompass a variety of year-round, silent sport events that promote a healthy, active lifestyle for thousands of outdoor fitness enthusiasts. In addition, the ABSF acts as steward of the legendary Birkie Trail, providing year-round grooming, mowing and maintenance to all 100-plus kilometers.
A nonprofit organization, the ABSF is fiscally responsible for maintaining 100 percent of the Birkie Trail system in Sawyer and Bayfield counties. The ABSF is funded through race fees, membership dues, sponsorships, and donations; it receives no local, state or federal tax money.