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Man holding torch while being hugged and surrounded by a group of family and people standing in the rain

18 May . 2016

Founder of Estrella Youth Sports Ran with Olympic Torch

While it has been a handful of years since it happened, Dale Kamarata was one of three people from the United States to get the honor of running with the Olympic torch before the Summer Olympics in London in 2012.  It’s not often one see’s the Olympics, but be in them?  Here is what transpired and how he was selected. 

Kamarata, a supply chain manager for Coca-Cola, was nominated by coworkers in the company’s contest to select 22 torch-bearers from across the world. The goal - to honor individuals based on their extraordinary community work, leadership and a commitment to improving lives. Kamarata definitely fit the bill.

In 2006 Kamarata founded the nonprofit Estrella Youth Sports in his Goodyear community, Estrella. His dream was to create an affordable youth sports program in the already tight-knit Estrella neighborhoods to bring families together and ensure kids have a safe place to play. On the first day of practice Kamarata expected maybe 20 participants to show up…more than 150 came out. That’s when he knew he had created something really special.

Desperately in need of a new field, Kamarata applied for a grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007…and was accepted. The D-Votion field opened in the fall of 2008 and features a signature Diamondback’s scoreboard and several authentic stadium seats from Chase Field.

Kamarata has always loved sports, but to him it was more about building relationships than winning. Over the past eight years, Estrella Youth Sports has upheld the mission to serve the children of the community by developing good role models through the vehicle of youth sports.

"The whole intent is to try and create positive experiences and promote active living through youth sports," said Kamarata. “It’s about continuing to build this amazing community, and being a part of the sense of support and belonging Estrella is known for.”

Estrella is built around supporting a healthy, active lifestyle for both children and adults and in addition to the sporting fields; residents can enjoy more than 500 acres of parks and open space including two lakes for boating and fishing, hiking trails and golf.

Over the years, Estrella Youth Sports has expanded to offer T-ball, baseball, basketball, flag football and soccer for children ages three – 8th grade. Today, more than 1,000 families participate in the sports programs and Kamarata’s passion for giving back to his community is as strong as ever. The nonprofit provides discount programs to ensure that every child who wants to play is given the chance. There is no paperwork involved, if someone tells Kamarata they are having issues, a scholarship is provided. No child is turned away for financial reasons. All of this led to Kamarata’s once in a lifetime experience with the Olympic torch.

On July 10, 2012, at 8:45 a.m. Kamarata ran his 300 meters through the town of Wallingford, Oxforshire.

“It was an amazing experience, especially having my wife and kids there to cheer me on,” said Kamarata. “The minute they light the torch so many things start running through your mind – I was thinking about the kids, about how I’m representing my community, my family, my country, Coca-Cola….it’s overwhelming. Yet somehow your feet start moving.”

Ever modest, Kamarata will tell you that the honor belongs to the community who supports his program, “I feel like I carried the torch for all the people who have been so important in my life.”

Click here to learn more about Estrella Youth Sports.