May/June Shore 2023

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Conversations to Spark Change

Encouraging women to invest in and advocate for themselves, giving them words to ask for their worth

Network this summer as we bring Women to Watch to your county!

Dates and Locations TBA

Summer 2023

Be on the lookout for your county’s speakers, date and location online at:

Sponsorships available: Contact Kristi Mertaugh at



Anna Mauwong shows her passion for rescuing horses 8

PROFILES: At-risk to rescued

SHOP TALK: Pushed to The Edge

Robert Woolley’s gym encourages youth and adults to be their stromgest self 16

HEARTHBEAT: Animal House

The positive impact of pets on our home buying 21

BE WELL: Finding fresh fitness

Becca Wales talks fitness in the gym or at home



Holistic healing with Fair Winds Wellnes

GIVING BACK: Walking & Flocking

Amanda Nelson Parks hosts community walk for all

OVERCOMER: Mid-Shore Challengers


We’re back! Another edition of SHORE and we are overjoyed with the stories we get to share with you this month. If you know our company, you know we have a lot of different publications. A lot of our main focus is on our newspapers like The Star Democrat, Bay Times & Record Observer, The Kent County News, Caroline County Times and The Dorchester Star. We cover a lot of hard news and that’s why SHORE is such a rewarding publication for us to produce. We get to take a step back and then focus on the extraordinary people of our beautiful region.

This edition is no different as we follow our theme of health, wellness and fitness. No matter what your situation may be, the people in this edition will have a solution for you as a part of your health journey. Once again that is what makes our region so special is what our neighbors are doing.

Whether it is a major fitness complex, a gym that is an extension of your home or leading walks through downtown, there are wonderful options to meet you where you are. And if somehow there is not something that meets your needs, the stories inside can operate as a how-to guide on launching your own business or training regimen.

Thank you for picking up another edition of SHORE magazine — we continue to appreciate your feedback, story ideas and questions!

President Jim Normandin

Executive Editor

Eli Wohlenhaus

Assistant General Manager/Sales

Betsy Griffin


Creative Director

Jennifer Quinn

Page Design

Jennifer Quinn

Meredith Dean

Community Coordinator

Amelia Blades Steward

Contributing Photographers

Jennifer Quinn

Arden Haley

Amelia Blades Steward

Cal Jackson

Contributing Writers

Katie Melynn

Debra R. Messick

Amelia Blades Steward

Kristi Mertaugh

Niambi Davis

Editorial Contact





Magazine is published by The Star Democrat.
portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means, including electronic retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher.
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From a very early age, Anna Mauwong was rescuing horses.

“I was eight years old when I started working with Annie,” said Anna. “She wouldn’t let me near her — she would rear up as soon as I got close.”

Now a senior at St. Michaels Middle High, Anna has worked with horses, sheep, chickens, geese, ducks and even bees through her family’s nonprofit, Ark Farms, which rehabilitates animals and works with at-risk youths.

Annie was Anna’s first rescue horse, one that came to her from an abused background.

“Most of the horses we rehab take 1-2 months, but Annie took 8 years,” Anna explained.

Anna said that how she works with the horses, using treats — sometimes too many, she laughs — coming back to them every day, shows the horses that they are always there for them and that they can trust her.

“I try to work with the trauma that they have

experienced and let them slowly recognize that I am someone that they can trust.”

She uses a steady, calming voice and never looks at their heads.

“Predators look at their prey’s heads, so I will look anywhere but,” said Anna.

Working with Annie, Anna learned to love herself again after some traumatic events in her early childhood, from fleeing New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina at a very young age, to dealing with her mother’s illness in grade school and sexual assaults in middle school.

Around that time, her horse became sick with EPM, a debilitating disease caused by a protozoan parasite from opossum, by way of cats or other barn regulars. Anna, seeing that her horse needed her more than ever, devoted more time to her and began the long healing process. Anna would feed her out of her hands, or with a mat under the bin, so that she would get all the nutrition


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needed. In nine months, Anna was able to ride her again.

There is an age-old adage when talking about pet adoption, “who saved who?” In this case, it was very much true. Anna realized Annie’s superpower was to help kids in every walk of life. Whenever Anna would introduce Annie to a child, as the horse would nuzzle, he or she would say, “this horse loves me!” Anna knew that they were right.

“She just has this ability to heal kids and it started with me,” Anna said.

Not only does Ark Farms — named after Anna and her siblings, Ruth and Kabod — rescue endangered and abused animals but it is also an organization that works with at-risk teens.

“We teach young people how to work with the horses and it restores them,” said Anna.

Both the horses and the teens learn that someone loves them and trusts them.

“We are building a community of hope,” Anna said.

The teens do not only work with the horses, they run other parts of the farm, where everyone has a role, no matter the gender.

“We empower teens through teaching them how to weld, run a chainsaw and ride a tractor,” Anna said. “If a 14-year-old wants to chop wood, we teach them to form a team, so they are learning how to work with others, while we train them on how to use the equipment safely.” Everyone gets a do-over at Ark Farms.

“It’s not something many barns will do — for the horses or the volunteers,” said Anna. “We don’t pass judgment on their past.”

But the horses are truly Anna’s passion. After Annie had recovered from EPM, Anna rode her for a few months, but was told that the horse had arthritis, which is very common especially in older horses, and the pressure of riding was hurting her.

Anna recalled thinking, “I have had so many years of riding you, loving you, now I will love you from the ground up.”

Anna wanted to be close to her horse as much as possible and would bring her homework out in the field.

“This horse started out hating the sight of me and would rear-up as soon as she saw me, yet turned out to be my very best friend.”

It’s not something many barns will do — for the horses or the volunteers. We don’t pass judgment on their past.

Since bringing Annie to the farm and working with her, Anna has rehabbed more horses and will take on four at a time. She has recently worked with a pair of off-track racehorses.

“They had the tattoo on their lips and had actually raced,” Anna said.

They refused to be separated from each other. She remembers playing the mirror game with Tinsel and Jessie, where one of them would take a step, she would step towards them, one of them runs, she would also run.

“Finally, they would learn that when they stopped, I would, too.”

That’s when Anna would calmly take a step towards them and stop, waiting a minute or two, before taking another step; her translation — we can trust each other. Soon, she was able to separate the horses from each other and eventually both horses were adopted.


“That is the end goal for these horses, to find a forever home,” Anna said.

On the farm in Tennessee, she had rescue horses that had been stuck in flooding and a few that had never been broken (ridden with a saddle) before. Anna explained that a friend would help her with those animals.

“We would give them treats, and starting with a light blanket, slowly put pressure on their back, over and over, until we could put a saddle on them,” she said. “The horse would freak out for a second,” Anna laughed, comparing, “I know that no horse could rear-up like Annie — she was the maximum crazy!”

Annie passed away earlier this year and Anna is using the lessons she has learned with T-Bear, an off-track race horse who has not had hands on him in 7 years. She can feed him out of her hands and can handle him on a leadline, stating “he follows me everywhere on that.”

Not only is she very active in her family’s organization, she heads up a recycling initiative, Each Youth Recycles or EYR, which is made up of local teens who build recycling containers for parks. And now that Ark Farms has moved its headquarters from Tennessee to Wye Mills on the Eastern Shore, it is on a mission to become a global organization.

“Everyone needs to experience these lessons,” said Anna. “I was able to love myself through these horses and the farm,” she said. “A horse will trust me enough to lead them somewhere they have never been before. It’s a lesson, learning to trust and love again.”

Following her high school graduation this spring, Anna will be pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

For more information on Ark Farms, visit S




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Robert Woolley grew up on Kent Island where he nurtured a lifelong passion for sports. The Kent Island High School alumnus took that passion to Salisbury University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Exercise Science and Business.

“I started a landscaping company,” Woolley said, “but I knew all along that it was a springboard to my ultimate dream.”

The dream was to open a facility designed to assist student-athletes in fine-tuning their skills past the high school playing level. Woolley’s degree laid the foundation

Story by Niambi Davis | Photos by Cal Jackson

and a whole lot of coaching gave him credibility with parents seeking additional training for their children. In 2013 his dream became a reality when the Edge Training Academy opened its doors in Stevensville.

“The Edge is a play on words,” Woolley explained. “If someone wants to push themselves to the edge of their limits, we’re here to provide the opportunity.”

Initially, the Edge Academy’s objective was to help one student each year to further their dreams of an athletic career beyond high school. Ten years later, they’ve exceeded that goal many times over, including an Edge athlete who was on Team USA for Men’s Lacrosse.

“The individual success stories are also ours,” said Woolley. “We measure those day-to-day wins as building blocks to a larger story.”

Train, play and give are the organization’s watchwords. The Edge Training Academy maintains a heavy focus on fitness training for studentathletes and adults.

“You walk in, train hard, and set out to achieve your goals.”

At the 24/7 open gym, personal trainers offer services from strength training and cardiovascular health to weight loss and disease prevention. Anyone can benefit from an array of targeted training programs that include sports-specific training, strength & conditioning, speed & power development, injury prevention, post-injury return to play, combine/showcase preparation and more.

Play takes place in the 25,000-square-foot Edge Arena. With a focus on the community, the arena’s

Robert Woolley at front desk.

turf provides an indoor sports playing field for team practice and a place for youth and adult leagues to compete.

“We take pride in providing a space for the community to come together,” Woolley said. They’ve hosted an array of activities, from paint parties to boot camps for adults, sports camps for children, kids’ birthday parties, proms and church services.

Giving is at the heart of the Edge’s nonprofit, appropriately named Giving the Edge Foundation.

“We didn’t want to forget the idea that personal development is equally as important as sports,” Woolley said.


The Edge Training Academy

112 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville MD 21666

The Edge Arena

325 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville MD 21666

For more information about The Edge, visit them online at or call them at 443-249-3133.


An example is The Win the Day Positive Behavior Incentive program. Piloted in 2015 at KIHS, it’s been an “entire ecosystem of positive behavior throughout the county schools.” Students and staff nominate one another based on the good things they’ve done at school. To make all of the foundation’s activities accessible to everyone, the foundation works to keep prices low and offers financial assistance to those who need it.

The Edge’s superpower and the reason for its success lie not only in its stellar athletics training track record but in a sense of family and community. Woolley’s mother handles the back office and his niece runs the front desk.

Beyond that, he attributes recruitment of the Edge’s trainers to a law of attraction: “We put such a high emphasis on doing good for the community we get a natural gravitation to talent. And when you do good by people, good people come to you.”

For Woolley, The Edge’s ultimate goal is to stay rooted in what they’ve built, and to stay focused on health, wellness, and the needs of the community through community service.

“I’m just a local guy,” he said, “born and raised in this community whose job it is to give back to it in whatever shape and form I can.”

You walk in, train hard, and set out to achieve your goals.
- Woolley
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ANIMAL house

Pets in your home buying and selling process

Traditionally, the real estate business has not shown much love for pets during the home selling. The conventional wisdom was sellers should conceal all traces of their pets — the toys, bowls, beds, even the animals themselves — when prepping a home for sale. The industry is softening, as pets are becoming a plus in the marketing of homes.

The reason for the shift has a lot to do with the numbers: Pet power is rising. Approximately

56% of U.S. households own a pet and 83% of these pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family. Those numbers are probably even higher on the Eastern Shore. While dogs make up 40% of pet ownership, cats come in second with 25% and birds and fish are also popular. For Mid-Shore Realtors, focusing this pet love means helping buyers look for homes that also meet the needs of their pets or working with sellers to leverage their home’s pet appeal.


“I think the days of hiding your pet’s existence are over,” said Megan Rosendale, president of Mid-Shore Board of Realtors. “You may not want your energetic Labrador running to the door to greet a home buyer, but quite honestly, a home that is pet-friendly is an advantage for a house nowadays.”

Many agents work with their sellers to create videos of the home, but have you thought about a video from the vantage point of the family pet? This happened for a $5 million listing in Corona Del Mar, Calif., where the home was showcased from the perspective of a French bulldog.

Rosendale, noted that she has not created a pet video, but has clients tell her they have their pets in mind when touring a home. The most important feature for clients in terms of their animals’ living situation is a fenced yard, followed by a large enough home for the household and the pet, and the flooring.

How to handle the pet during showings is a concern and should be addressed.

“There are still some home buyers who take a negative view on pets, especially if they have allergies,” Rosendale said. She noted your pet may be a member of the household,

but just as you want the kids’ socks off the floor during a showing, you will need to put away the kitty litter box and the pet toys and beds. Often pets leave a scent so you will want to address this with candles or plug-ins.

“I still prefer to have all pets out of the house during showings if possible,” said Rosendale.

It is less stressful for both the Realtor and the buyer. Not having to worry about if the cat or dog gets out, biting, or barking, makes the home showing go smoother.

With 81% of Realtors considering themselves animal lovers, buyers and sellers should not have a hard time explaining why the home needs to work for their pets as well as the entire family. Realtors know the Eastern Shore is a great place for pets, lots of open space, parks, parades, and festivals where pets are included.

The Mid-Shore Board of Realtors has over 600 Realtors and Affiliates from Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. The mission of the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors is to advocate for its members and the public to preserve the right to own, transfer and utilize real property. See for more resources and information.

22 S HORE Accent | MAY/JUNE 2023
A home that is pet-friendly is an advantage for a house nowadays.
MAY/JUNE 2023 | SHORE Accent 23

fresh fitness

Her home to your home

After the birth of her son in 2016, Becca Wales hardly recognized the person looking back at her in the mirror. An active equestrienne with a degree in Equine Business Management, she found herself less active and motivated, impacting both her weight and self-image.

“I was over 200 pounds, very inactive, and just beyond miserable and sick of myself,” said Wales. “That’s when I decided that I needed to do something to change.”

She walked through the doors of the local YMCA in Easton and started a journey into fitness that would transform her life, her body, and her business.


At the Y, Wales began with a simple walk on the treadmill and a lot of trepidation. She didn’t know much about fitness and started with a simple exercise as she watched others take on machines, weight lifting, and other activities.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “But I would consistently go, watch people and learn that way.”

As she saw results in her physique, Wales also experienced increased confidence in herself and her abilities. She started to venture out into the gym and try new exercises. This approach worked for her and is a big part of her approach to fitness now.

“I found my groove.”


Now a regular at the Y, Wales had developed relationships with the people in the gym while also improving her own health. Amy Schiefer, the Health and Wellness Director, had seen the change in her attitude as fitness became an integral part of her life and recognized a fellow enthusiast who could bring that passion to others. At Schiefer’s suggestion, Wales became certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, ACE, in 2019 and started working with clients.

24 S HORE Accent | MAY/JUNE 2023

After teaching pilates and boot camp in addition to personal training for over a year, COVID-19 struck and the Y had to shut its doors for group exercise.

Wales converted a detached building at her house to a gym and started working one-on-one with clients as restrictions allowed.

“Next thing I know, I started a business, B Well Nutrition and Fitness Coaching. And it all took off!”

Wales now works with over 30 clients in her own gym in addition to groups and individuals at other locations and even in their own homes. When she first began working as a personal trainer, one of the first people she called with the news was her grandfather. She credits him with inspiring her fitness and wellness journey. He had been sedentary and unhealthy when he decided in his 50s to start cycling.

“I saw the way that changed his life-not only the physical, also the mental and the person he became when he found his passion.” Wales chuckled as she

MAY/JUNE 2023 | SHORE Accent 25
A lot of my philosophy in handling how the business grows is trusting the process - Wales
Becca Wales posed with her Chesapeake Best of the Best award.

remembered him. “When he passed at age 79, he had clocked over 100,000 miles on his bike.”


Her own fitness journey emphasized steady progress and a lifestyle shift, something that Wales brings to her clients as a trainer.

“I started out working with a lot of weight loss because that’s what got me into it,” she said. “But now I also have clients who have been working out for years and just

want to improve or learn new things. Some clients are older and want to stay active. Some clients want to lose weight or learn healthy habits.”

Wales worked with Christy Fitchner, Miss USA 1986, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I worked with her to help her stay healthy and keep a healthy routine.” Her philosophy around fitness focuses on the internal benefits to health, longevity, self-care, and confidence. “Beyond the outside changes, it’s the inside stuff that really means the most,” she said.

26 S HORE Accent | MAY/JUNE 2023

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Locatednearroute 301 for easy commutingnorth andsouth,this4bedroom, 2bathhomehas afullbasementand oversizedgarage thatcould easily accommodate up to fourcars, with aflooredattic.Woodfloors in the living and in oneofthe diningareas,plusthe kitchenhas Corian counterswithcenterisland. Enjoy theinground swimming pool with concrete patio that surroundsthe pool. Has2-200 amp panelsand a50amp RV hookup.Theboilerisnew this year.The septicsystemisbeing replaced.Currently the MDEhas approved the designtype andlocationofsepticand an applicationhas beensubmittedtothe Kent County EnvironmentalHealthDepartmentfor approval. The septic contractor bids will be goingout soon forthe jobtoinstall anew Drip DispersalSepticSystem.

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When B Well Nutrition and Fitness Coaching won the 2022 Best of the Best Chesapeake Award for personal training, Wales was proud to be recognized.

“I have so much respect for the other nominees, these people who have been doing this for so long,” she said. “I was humbly grateful to be considered among these people who are so well known and so good at what they do.”

Wales said looks forward to growing her business and remains open to opportunities that come up. When asked what she sees coming next for B Well Nutrition and Fitness Coaching, she simply said that she is trusting the process.

“A lot of my philosophy in handling how the business grows is trusting the process,” said Wales. “It all started without much planning, things just fell into place. So now, I have ideas but sometimes new things come and I just go with that.”

You can follow B Well Nutrition and Fitness Coaching on Becca Wales’ Instagram page @be_wales. S

28 S HORE Accent | MAY/JUNE 2023
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That’s when I decided that I needed to do something to change.
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Holistic. Healing. Oasis

Positive changes have begun flowing through the historic community of Cambridge. Among them is Michael Rosato’s iconic Take My Hand mural of Harriet Tubman, located behind the main downtown thoroughfare of Race Street.

Within viewing distance of that heartening signpost, another noteworthy harbinger indicating a favorable forward shift is Fair Winds Wellness, a haven of holistic practices, opened by Marie and Shawn Nuthall in June 2019, just 9 months prior to the pandemic.

Marie, a degrees and licensed acupuncturist, and Shawn, a certified Yoga instructor, used the lockdown time to

remove a wall and increase studio space for the growing yoga side. They also live streamed yoga sessions, which reached viewers from around the world.

One reason the couple came to Cambridge was to offer helpful healing modalities such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and nutritional guidance in a greatly underserved area, Marie mentioned.

To do so, they breathed new life into a former orthodonture facility, creatively reinventing one side as an airy yoga space while maintaining the structural integrity of the aesthetically redesigned other “practice” side, containing four individual rooms for acupuncture

Story by Debra Messick | Photos by Cal Jackson

treatment by Marie, massage by Margaret Dressle, and by Teresa Deal, and nutritional therapy by Staci H. Walden.

During the two months between purchasing the building and opening the center, word of mouth quickly spread.

“While we were there swinging hammers, covered in duck wallpaper and brown paneling, people kept showing up on our doorstep, asking what we were doing,” the couple recalled. “It just started attracting people who wanted to become a part of it.”

One of those was Walden, “a beautiful, beautiful soul,” according to Marie, who has been with Fair Winds since it opened. “Twenty minutes after stopping by, she called, saying ‘I have to be a part of what you’re doing.’”

While the latter may not be as familiar a therapeutic component as massage, yoga or acupuncture, nutritional guidance makes sense, Shawn said.

“The gut, brain connection is so important,” he said. “What you feed your body affects how you think, and ultimately, how you feel.”

Along with their individual areas of expertise, the Nuthalls bring combined dedication to the enterprise, which has been a labor of love, buoyed by a passion for helping people feel better through natural means, drawing on their own resources.

“For us, this isn’t just a business; it’s a way for us to share our hearts with the community,” Marie said. “However

we can soften or create ease in your life, that’s what we want to do.”

“Our goal is to ensure that each person who comes in leaves feeling that they have been cared for and treated with love and respect,” Marie added.

Fair Winds strives to “meet people where they are,” Shawn noted. “We’re offering, what I consider, a tremendous palette of colors which can help improve your life. But it requires you to first pick up the paintbrush,” he added, explaining the critical component of proactive energy clients bring on their own.

Inspired to earn an M.A. in acupuncture from the University of Maryland’s Integrative Health program, Marie has been practicing since 2017.

Shawn has extensively practiced and taught yoga, which he discovered during the aftermath of his 20-year-old daughter’s death by suicide.

“It’s no mystery to anyone who’s experienced severe grief, but there’s an actual physical pain involved, like a constant weight on your chest and your shoulders,” he said. “That’s the kind of unbearable weight I felt, like the world was going to just open up and swallow me. I had the urge to keep moving, and tried different exercises and yoga. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but I felt better, mentally, after practicing yoga. I know a lot of people come to yoga seeking relief from a bad back,


sciatica, or other physical ailments. I came through the mental health door.”.

Steve Butcher, a local Zen Buddhist monk, hosts a free, informal Monday Zen Meditation session, open to all. Among recent participants was a 92-year-old man, who was offered a chair for personal comfort, a hallmark of Fair Winds’ focus on welcoming, individualized and compassionate service.

A popular “Yoga & Acupuncture” session meets the last Sunday of each month at 9:30 a.m. featuring a mixed level yoga class followed by a 5-point acupuncture treatment given while participants rest in savasana (final resting pose).

Fair Winds has also featured special, transformative sound bathing sessions on several occasions, as well as several parent and youngster yoga classes.

“We’re really open to any suggestions people may have; if you have an idea for a class or workshop, bring it on,” Marie said.

“There are some modalities offered here that people still tend to keep on the back burner for

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‘when I’m in pain’ or for when ‘I meet somebody who has that problem,’” Marie said. “But, you really don’t need a specific reason. Acupuncture, for instance, is so helpful, and so pervasive in bringing well being; you can have things resolved that you didn’t intentionally seek out.”

“Everyone starts this journey at a different place,” Shawn said.

“We knew, going in, that for most people, massage is the most recognizable, accessible service,” Marie added. “But once they come for that, they seem to want to try other things we offer.”

In her own case, she seems to recall first trying acupuncture treatment for an elbow (or other) injury, recalling it as “my ticket in the door, my initial reason.

“And then, it helped me on so many levels, more than any other therapy or physical modality, I realized ‘there’s something more to this, I need to know more.”

Now, she helps others discover that same truth. S

offering, what I consider, a tremendous palette of colors which can help improve your life. But it requires you to first pick up the paintbrush.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Fair Winds Wellness at 410-228-2474, or visit For Teresa Deal, call 410-330-9315 or visit For Margaret Dressle, call 410-905-7818 or visit For Staci H. Walden, call 757-502-3026 or visit
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Their words of encouragement for one another and their sense of joy are contagious as adults with special needs gather at Windy Way Farm in Preston to ride horses. Many in the group have been with one another since they were children through a program known as Mid-Shore Challengers — the vision of Robin Murphy of Preston who has a child with special needs.

Murphy started Mid-Shore Challengers in 1993 with help from her friends Arno Miller and Jeanne Rowe. The three noticed very few opportunities on the Eastern Shore for children with special needs to participate in organized sports.

“When we first started Mid-Shore Challengers, it gave children in wheelchairs the opportunity to participate in the sport of baseball,” Murphy said. “The Special Olympics wasn’t offering that opportunity then.”

The Mid-Shore Challengers program was based initially on The Little League Challenger Division® which was founded in the U.S. in 1989 — Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. Murphy’s son Michael, now 37, has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic and Rowe’s daughter has Down syndrome. The program was also geared toward children on the autism spectrum.

Murphy soon found other families with similar needs whose children wanted to play an organized sport. MidShore Challengers started by offering baseball in the spring of 1993 with 5 to 6 children enrolled. The program grew to four teams — two teams for children under age 16 and two teams for children ages 16 and older competing regionally with other Challenger teams.

Story by Amelia Blades Steward

Mid-Shore Challengers has had over 100 children through the program since those early years. Today, baseball is suspended until a coordinator and coaches are secured while bowling and riding are thriving. The group has approximately 50 special athletes and 15 special buddies from all five MidShore counties.

“It’s just fun. It’s good for the kids and it’s good for the parents,” Murphy, who has poured her heart and soul into the organization for the last 30 years, said.

Mid-Shore Challengers is different from the Special Olympics which focuses on children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Challengers offer more opportunities and adaptation for those who are physically challenged and are a little less structured.

The program also offers “buddies” to support and protect children who take part. In horseback riding, buddies are often the side walkers with the horse and rider. Both Special Olympics and the Mid-Shore Challengers also rely on volunteers to help coach participants.

“The best qualities of our volunteers are that they have open and compassionate hearts and patience,” said Jeanne

Rowe of Greensboro whose daughter Kelsey, like many of the other children in the Mid-Shore Challengers, participates in both programs. “Volunteering for both programs is very gratifying. Both programs need volunteers to continue to support their offerings.”

Jeanne and her husband Tolbert coached Challenger baseball for over 25 years, as well as a couple of Special Olympic sports.

Over the years, Mid-Shore Challengers added bowling in the fall and horseback riding in the spring and fall to its list of available sports. Murphy’s son, who struggles with greater health issues today, still enjoys being able to bowl from his wheelchair with the Mid-Shore Challengers.

For Kelsey Rowe, Rowe’s 35-year-old daughter, baseball was her first sport and she went on to participate in bowling and riding through Mid-Shore Challengers. Kelsey recalls playing baseball, saying “I was proud of myself. They taught me how to hit.”

Kelsey is also active in the Special Olympics sports swimming, golf, kayaking, and basketball, and has won many Special Olympic medals. Most recently, she won a

Left photo: Tthe Special Olympics all-girl basketball 3v3 team. (Photo courtesy of Gwynn Gibbons) Middle photo: Austin Jackson and his mother Crissy Jackson at Windy Way Farm. (Photo courtesy of Crissy Jackson) Right photo: Kelsey Rowe with Mid-Shore Challengers riding at Windy Way Farm in Preston. (Photo by Amelia Steward)

gold medal with her 3V3 basketball team – one of only a few all-girl teams. The girls are also great friends.

“She just took off with kayaking and was a natural at it,” said Rowe. “It was a thrill to see her do it independently and succeed.”

In addition to her daughter learning sports skills, Rowe reflects on the friends and network they have been a part of, as well as the enjoyment and fitness aspects of participation.

“We would have Christmas parties and picnics,” Rowe said. “Kelsey got a whole network of friends from this.”

Mid-Shore Challengers has been using Courageous Hearts Horsemanship (CHH) at Windy Way Farm for the past 10 years for its horseback riding program. Annie Trice, the owner of CHH, which is a nonprofit therapeutic riding program, started working with Challengers in the very beginning before she started her nonprofit.

“They are so much more than my clients — they have become friends and supporters of our program,” said Trice. “It has been so good to be there for each of them and their parents through their transitions from children to adults in the program. It’s as much about their socialization with one another as it is about the physical exercise of riding. After the eight-week program each spring and fall, we offer them private lessons and special events to continue socializing with one another.”

Crossover in participation between Mid-Shore Challengers and the Upper Shore Region of the Special Olympics is very common among children who have special needs on the Eastern Shore. Sharon Myrick of Chester, whose son Jimmy had Down syndrome, said her son began participating in the Special Olympics at age 10. They moved to the Shore in 2001 when Jimmy was 19. The minimum age for Special Olympics athletes is eight years of age, but there is no age limit so that athletes can participate throughout their entire lives.

“All children deserve the opportunity to participate in sports,” said Myrick. “We believed the earlier Jimmy got involved in increasing his stamina and muscle tone, the healthier he could be in his life. It also enabled him to be a ‘sports child’ like his peers. Later in his life, we believed it helped him fight his first bout with leukemia.”

Today, Myrick is the Area Director for the Upper Shore Region of the Special Olympics, which includes Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. The Special Olympics now offers swimming, basketball, bocce, kayaking, golfing, and cycling from January through October. There is no fee to participate, although families help with fundraising activities to support their region. Special Olympics athletes must have a qualifying disability to be eligible to participate. This can include being developmentally delayed, having an intellectual disability, or having an IEP or 504 supplemental learning plan. Athletes must complete a physical with their

physician to participate and are guided as to the best sports to suit their disabilities.

“The goal of the Special Olympics is for the athletes to have success,” said Myrick. “It is a holistic approach to sports and involves the mind, body and spirit.”

“One of the most important aspects of the Special Olympics is the social network for both the athletes and their parents. It helps to form a parent support system. Parents create play groups that can take them through their teen years and help with socialization,” Myrick added.

Athletes who choose to continue with Special Olympics competition at the state and national levels participate in qualifying events held locally. If they qualify locally, they can be selected to attend Special Olympics Maryland and the USA Games or World Games.

“While not every Special Olympics athlete achieves the highest level of competition, participants gain confidence as they take a chance at things they have never tried before,” Myrick said.

When Myrick’s son got sick with leukemia, the Special

Above: Tommy Lloyd playing baseball with Mid-Shore Challengers. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Lloyd) Left: Kelsey Rowe kayaking with the Special Olympics. (Photo courtesy of Jeanne Rowe)

Olympics allowed him to continue to participate in his Special Olympics sport — swimming — as an adult participant until he passed away from his disease.

“Another benefit of Special Olympics is that it helps fill the gap for adults with special needs who finish school at age 21, providing the opportunity to have a social network and to continue getting exercise,” said Myrick. “It also gives the athletes a sense of purpose and joy.”

Some of the unique things about Special Olympics include that coaches are certified in understanding developmental disabilities and how to deal with them and the practice of inclusion is important, offering “unified partners” to those who want them. Unified partners are typical athletes who want to help athletes with special needs accomplish their goals while competing in a special level of competition within the Special Olympics, promoting inclusivity in sports.

Each sport, whether in Mid-Shore Challengers or the Special Olympics, speaks differently to each child who participates.

“In Mid-Shore Challengers, we tailor the teaching to each child’s level and work with the parents on what needs they have so that they can experience normalcy in sports as other children do,” Rowe concluded.

For further information about Mid-Shore Challengers, contact Robin Murphy at or call her at 410-822-3838.

For further information about Upper Shore Region Special Olympics, contact Sharon Myrick at 301-343-3113 or email

Other opportunities to get children with special needs physical activity include a Young Athletes Program for children ages four through seven at Kent Island and Centreville Elementary Schools; Camp Lazy Days, a summer camp offered through the YMCA of the Chesapeake; and swimming lessons through Club One. S

It is a holistic approach to sports and involves the mind, body and spirit. - Myrick
Above: The first group of baseball players in Mid-Shore Challengers after it was founded in 1993. Pictured front row Kelsey Rowe is far left and Michael Murphy is to her right. (Photo courtesy of Jeanne Rowe)

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A community walk brings all levels together for fitness and fun

On the Rail Trail in Chestertown, you may notice a group of walkers with a little extra pep in their step. Some take on three miles or more while others walk at a leisurely pace. These walkers came together in mid-2020, ready to get active in a time when isolation and the unknown presented real challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Not only were we struggling with the loss of normalcy, we were all declining mentally and physically,” said walk organizer Amanda Parks. “As soon as we could, I decided we would do a community walk. It was really helpful for people to socialize with one another and just to move.”

Now known as the Community Flock Walk, these community-building outings were the brainchild of Parks, a personal trainer in Chestertown. Parks always had an interest in health and wellness through her education and early career. She began working with clients as a personal trainer through her business, Fit Flock, in 2017 and decided to become a full-timer trainer in early 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to adapt her plans and the way she brought fitness to her community.

Story by Katie Melynn Photos by Jennifer Quinn
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“They started allowing things outside,” she said. “I saw that the lack of physical movement, people being scared of the unknown, it was all causing detrimental health issues. The intention of the walks was that it would be a pandemic thing and we’d go back to our normal thing once everything loosened up.”

As more and more people attended the walks, including some becoming weekly regulars, the enthusiasm grew. Restrictions lifted but the spirit and community of the Community Flock Walk remained. So Parks made another big leap and decided to continue the twice weekly meetups. She still worked with clients as a trainer but the walks remained open to anyone in the community. The flock of walkers was thrilled!

“We get started when the clocks spring forward and meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30,” said Parks. “We meet at the Stepne Station on the Rail Trail and just walk. We talk about the community, local events, things happening in Chestertown and things that are happening in each others’ lives. It’s fun to see people from different backgrounds get together because they all enjoy the walk.”

Some walkers sport Community Flock Walk fanny packs, purchased with funds received from a grant in 2022, although most just come as they are for fresh air and fitness. The walks are free to the community and don’t require registration. All you have to do is show up and walk.

Parks found that making the walks accessible and welcoming to all levels of fitness served the community that she loved. A Kent County native, she invests her time in numerous other organizations, such as the United Way of Kent County.

“I’m from Kent County so helping this community is one of my top passions. My

It’s a functional movement that you need in life. A body in motion stays in motion.

other top passion is helping people find ways to live their most healthy life. That’s going to be different for each person.”

As a personal trainer, Parks knows that the best fitness trends are the ones that you will stick with. Some people like running, others biking, others strength training. But walking is something that doesn’t require special equipment, training, or years of intense practice. That’s one reason that she organized the community walks.

“Everybody who is able can be walking,” she said. “It’s a functional movement that you need in life. A body in motion stays in motion. The longer you keep walking, the longer you can keep doing it.”

Walkers of all ages come out to enjoy their time together. Some are there twice each week while others only make it once a week or occasionally. Young adults in

their 20s and 30s walk alongside retirees and parents pushing babies in strollers or ride-along toys. But all of these residents of Chestertown and nearby areas have one thing in common. They like to walk.

As the weather warms up, attendance at the Community Flock Walk tends to increase. Many walkers opt for the three-mile walk on the trail but some turn around at an earlier fork in the trail, walking for around a mile total. With the same starting and ending point, it is easy for each walker to set their own pace and distance. Many groups often form around pace and people are able to connect with other members of the community.

The Community Flock Walks don’t require any reservations or registration but you can get updates and reminders via Fit Flock on Facebook and @fitflockamanda on Instagram.

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In the1980’sweall learnedwho we’regoing to call if there’ssomethingstrangeinour neighborhood or if there’s somethingweirdand it don’tlookgood.Debutingas number 1onthe BillboardHot 100 in August of 1984, Ray Parker,Jr. sharedwithusall nottobeafraidofnoghost becausewehad someonetocall:the Ghostbusters.Much like that of thefictionalGhostbusters,yourUndertaker is committed to thecommunity 24/7, andisalwaysjusta phonecall away.Thequestion is,whenexactlydowecall ourundertaker?

In order to answerthisquestion,let’s first gain an understandingofwhatisnecessary to transport a deceased from their place of passing. People pass away in many differentplaces, includinghospitals, homes, nursingfacilities andoccasionallysomewhereunplanned Regardlessofwhere this place of passingmight be, adecedentcannotbetransported unlessamedical practitioner states they will signthe legaldeath certificate. Maryland’s laws, whichare very similartothose of most states, specifycertain typesofhealth care providersthat cansignadeath certificate, includingphysicians,nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants andmedical examiners When oneofthese individualsverballyagree to signa deathcertificate, thedecedentcan then andonlythenbe transported by theundertaker.This is easily carried out when deathoccurssomewhereexpected, such as ahospital, nursinghomeorhospice facility.Theteamofprofessionals arrangesfor adeath certificatetobesignedand thefacility or family would then call theundertaker fortransportation. Wherethisgets alittlemore complex is when asudden deathoccurs. Let’stakemeasanexample:

My wife comeshometofind that Ihavepassed unexpectedly. Herfirst phone call is to 911. The paramedics andpolice will arrive to evaluate thesituation andask formyphysician’s contactinformation.Theoncall provider will then converse with theparamedic to determineone thing...will that on call medical practitioner signthe deathcertificate. Thisisdetermined when the signs of thehealth challengesthatled to deathasobser ved by theparamedic match what is in my medical file. For example: signs of highblood pressure on my body, matching

notesofyearlyissues in my medical records, most likely resultingindeath from aheart attack.Ifthisstands true, andthe on call medical professionalverballycommits to signingthe deathcertificate, thepolice will instruct my wife to call theundertaker of choice fortransportation andnext steps thereafter. However, if my medical records areclean,orperhaps Ihavenot been in thecareofa medical professionalfor some time,Iwill be turned over to theState Medical Examiner in Baltimoretoperform apostmortemexamination, regardlessofhow much my family disagrees. The Stateitself, contractedindividuals or thelocal undertaker then sees that Iamtransported to Baltimore forthe Medical Examiner to determinethe cause of death. Before leaving, thepolice will then instruct my wife to contactthe undertaker of choice to beginmaking plans forthe next steps. Once theMedical Examiner gives permission, usuallyafter48-72 hours, theundertaker of choice canthengotoBaltimore to transport me into their care

Nowthe real question comesintoplaywhenadeath occurs away from home.Thekey here is to ALWAYS call your hometown undertaker.Regardlessofapassing occurringinahospital,homeortragicsituation wherethe individual is transported to themedical examiner,your phonecall is to your hometown undertaker,not theone in that area.Heorshe will then carr yout all necessary responsibilities from afar by having an area representative actontheir behalf.This in turn savesyourfamilya tremendous amount of moneybynot having to incurtwo professionalser vice fees from twodifferentfuneralhomes. Onefuneralhome, oneundertaker andthey’ve gotyou coveredfrom anywhere in theworld.

Although Ghostbusters is afictitious team of individuals waitinginthe wingsfor acall of need,real lifeundertakers share many similarities with thosecharacters.Undertakers standcommitted to helping their community,regardless of what time of dayornight deathoccurs, themannerin whichdeath occurred or even wheredeath mayoccur.So whoare yougoing to call if it ‘don’t look good’? Pick up the phoneand call...YourUndertaker.

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