Freshmen students help Boys and Girls Club coordinate flag football for community youth
(Note: This story is provided by the ConnectMichigan Alliance, a non-profit organization that focuses on volunteerism. Siena Heights University is a member institution of this organization.)
By Brandon Seng
Through a program of Siena Heights University, freshmen college students have been actively involved in the Adrian community for the last five years. Partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Lenawee, Siena has been challenging students through an Introduction to Sports Management course which coordinates a flag football season for community youth.
Siena students are required to complete 12 hours of community learning at the Boys and Girls Club, with the majority of hours falling on Saturdays when football league activities are scheduled. In addition, they are required to make at least five visits to the Boys and Girls Club, and participate in at least five activities related to the football program it houses.
“This is a great opportunity for students to learn about working in the community,” said SHU Professor Mary Beth Leibold, who instructs this innovative course. “They are able to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it directly to the field.”
Nearly 100 kids from the Adrian area participate in the Boys and Girls Club of Lenawee’s flag football season each year. In addition to learning about the game, college coaches teach program participants about commitment, sportsmanship and the importance of staying fit.
James Seaton, unit director of the Boys and Girls Club, is in charge of overseeing this program, which he describes as hands-on mentoring.
“The children really enjoy it,” said Seaton. “They are able to learn about college life, as well as the sport.”
The youth at the Boys and Girls Club have come to expect the involvement of the Siena students, and seeing their excitement has been driving coaches to volunteer outside of class. Their effort means more than simply drawing up a play; they are working hard to serve as positive role models for Adrian’s young football stars.
This program currently serves the east side of the Adrian community. The goal, according to Leibold, is to continue to expand, reaching out to get more children involved. The partnership between Siena and the Boys and Girls Club of Lenawee has created a unique service-learning effort, in which more is accomplished each year. As participation grows, Siena’s sports management program will continue to touch lives on each side of the clipboard.