Pima County residents are invited to dedicate some time to improving their personal relationships and physical wellbeing this Saturday, and the towns of Oro Valley and Marana are stepping up to the challenge.
Both north side municipalities are teaming up with local nonprofit BEYOND to host a series of fitness-related events Jan. 12, and are offering a chance for residents to play kickball in the park or take an educational hike in the mountains.
BEYOND was founded by Ross Zimmerman, the father of Gabe Zimmerman, who was a congressional aide to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords killed alongside five other victims of the 2011 shooting that took place at Giffords “Congress on Your Corner Event” in north Tucson. The organization started as a collection of events one year after the shooting in memory of the victims in order to provide a friendly outlet for residents to be healthy in their respective communities, and has since established a nonprofit with a mission of promoting the use of “good science and rational analysis to improve individual and community health.”
Both the towns of Oro Valley and Marana are hosting events tied to the foundation this year: a kickball tournament at Naranja Park, and a hiking event along Wild Burro Trail in the Tortalita Mountains. The latter event features a discussion about the petroglyphs, or images carved into the rock-faces of the mountain.
Zimmerman, who founded BEYOND with his wife, Pam Golden, hopes the community will enjoy the myriad of events taking place across the region. In particular, Zimmerman said he is proud that BEYOND is partnering once again with Oro Valley, which he calls a remarkable community of innovation in Southern Arizona.
“Oro Valley is kind of the example for what we should be doing in the Tucson basin,” Zimmerman said. “And having the folks from the Parks and Rec of the different communities involved in this has always been a strong piece with this.”
The partnership between Zimmerman’s foundation and Oro Valley is equally important to Nick Scala, who serves as the town’s parks and recreation assistant director.
“We love partnering with them,” Scala said. “In the past we did a hike, and then the last couple of years we did ultimate Frisbee. This year, we’re doing kickball, and I think it’s important to continue to promote it and to get people outside in response to the events in 2011. So, it means a lot to us, and it’s a great organization that we fully support.”
Bob Stinson, who serves as the outdoor recreation coordinator for the Town of Marana, shared a similar sentiment, calling the relationship between his town and BEYOND a win-win for everyone.
“The Town’s Partnership with BEYOND is important to us because we both believe in providing meaningful activities for community members to reconnect with each other while participating in health-related outdoor activities,” Stinson said. “The Town of Marana guided hike is one of many BEYOND activities on January 12, and this hike is sure to be at the top of the list.”
There are also events in Tucson that BEYOND is sponsoring on Jan. 12, including a bike ride from St. Phillip’s Plaza to the corner of West Ina and North Oracle roads, where the shooting occurred.
Details, sign up and RSVP information for all Jan. 12 events is available on BEYOND’s website (beyond-tucson.org/events/).