Athletes Participate In Community Service Camp
Oct. 2, 2004
LAWRENCE, KAN. – More than 100 KU student-athletes took part in a camp for children from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program this weekend. The camp, hosted by KU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in the Athletics facilities, was an ambitious community service event to benefit some especially deserving children from Lawrence and the surrounding area.
Approximately 75 youngsters, ages 3rd – 8th grade from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization were invited to join the student-athletes and 30-40 law enforcement officers from 9am -2pm on Saturday. The attending youngsters had the unique opportunity to have fun practicing some sports skills with KU student-athletes and hear some valuable information ranging from Internet safety to drug education with officers from Kansas University Police Department, Lawrence Police Department, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Douglas County Sheriffs Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Kansas Highway Patrol.
When Big Brothers/Big Sisters approached the KU SAAC through the assistance of Athletics Director, Lew Perkins to see about a collaborative event, the pieces fell into place to begin a fall sports camp for needy kids. An added bonus of this new event was that it allowed kids to interact in a fun environment with law enforcement officers to promote understanding and acceptance of the police as well.
This year’s event featured five sports stations and five educational sessions. All the kids participating rotated through all 10 stations. The sports stations included a basketball station (hosted by Women’s and Men’s players), a soccer station, a rowing station, a football station, and a track & field station.
Student-athletes from nearly all of the sport programs interacted in some capacity with the young guests from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Educational sessions were, fitness & health (taught by new Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning, Andrea Hudy), internet safety, personal safety, drug abuse prevention, and computer piracy prevention. All participants were provided a box lunch, and received a free t-shirt and other items such as a various KU team posters.
A highlight was a short address to the kids by Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline. Coaches Bonnie Henrickson, Head Women’s Basketball; Tracy Bunge, Head Softball; and Kurt Townsend, Assistant Men’s Basketball also took time to stop by and thank the youngsters for joining the Jayhawks at the camp.
All of the parties involved in the planning of the program were very excited at the success of this first event. It is hoped that this program will serve as a model for many other NCAA schools to join nationwide in partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the young people they serve. It was a very unique opportunity for the student-athletes to spend some time making a positive difference in the lives of area youths. It was a special day for all participants, young and old!