With just under a week left before the 117th staging of the annual Penn Relays, Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) has kicked its activities into high gear as it prepares to host the Jamaican contingent as well as their Caribbean counterparts.
A large delegation of over 500 athletes, coaches and support staff is expected from Jamaica and a contingent of approximately 120 is expected from Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and St Vincent and The Grenadines.
A high level team of Government officials led by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the honorable, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange will represent the government of Jamaica. Ambassador, Her Excellency the Honorable Audrey P. Marks, will be Team Jamaica Bickle’s honored Guest for the Penn Relays weekend of activities.
The Ambassador is an avid supporter of the youth and has a keen interest in sports. Since taking office on behalf of the Government of Jamaica in Washington DC, she has sought, and has been kept apprised of the work of Team Jamaica Bickle on behalf of Jamaican and Caribbean athletes in The Diaspora.
“I am particularly pleased with the work that Team Jamaica Bickle does and continues to do on behalf of the athletes and to that extent the people of Jamaica and the Diaspora,” said Ambassador Marks. “On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I am delighted to be the honored guest of the Team Jamaica Bickle Penn Relay weekend activities, 2011, and equally happy to embrace the youth of the nation while they represent school and country with pride. The flag of Jamaica flies proudly at Franklin Field, a first for any foreign country, and graciously so, due to the efforts of Team Jamaica Bickle”
For the past 17 years Team Jamaica Bickle has sought to make the Penn Relays experience, a nurturing one, filled with great memories and moments for the athletes. The team Jamaica village provides for the athletes a “home-away-from-home,” partnering with Vincent HoSang and the Caribbean Food Delights brand to provide Jamaican meals and refreshments, powerful reminders of home. In addition, physical therapy and other medical care; transportation daily to Franklin Field and other amenities are all in place for the athletes’ comfort. Hotel rooms and air fares are offered to the teams at subsidized rates, negotiated by Team Jamaica Bickle.
Team Jamaica Bickle relies heavily on contributions from Diaspora businesses and corporate donations as well as fundraisers to meet the annual budget of approximately, USD $67,000, (approx. JA $5.6 mil.) needed to fund its operations. It is estimated that over the 17 year period the organization has spent close to USD $1.1 mil (JA$95.2 mil) all for the great cause of assisting these athletes who lay it all on the line, in pursuit of personal and national glory on the field.
“We recognize the power of the athletes and we consider them “Brand Ambassadors” for country, each time they step on the field,” says Irwine Clare, TJB CEO & Founder. “We consider it our duty to ensure that they are kept safe, fed and cared for, especially since they are on foreign soil.”
Thousands of Diaspora residents from cities all over the US will converge on Franklin Field Thursday April 28 thru Saturday April 30, 2011 to revel in the exploits of our talented athletes on the field and to cheer on their countrymen.
It will be a carnival-like atmosphere where patriotism and love of country will tower large in the stands and on the grounds at Franklin Field.
As in previous years TJB has the unwavering support of founding partner, Caribbean Food Delights. Also on board are LIME, Grace Foods, Grace Kennedy Remittance Services thru its Bill Payment/Cross Border Payments, Western Union, UJAA, Tower Isle, Air J/CAL and The Lomax Foundation.
TJB also receives support from Dennis Shipping, Trans Continental Shipping, Jamaica Air Express Couriers and Yardman Style Clothing.