Sports Facility project aims to help local kids

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By: Erin Callahan – Chief A&E Writer

In celebration of National Boys and Girls Club Week, today until Saturday, a group of 10 sports management students will host a spring fair at the Boys and Girls Club of Dayton.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America is an organization that aims to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Clubs across the nation offer several education, leadership, life skill, art and recreation programs.

The spring fair is part of a sport facility operations class project, and students are using lessons they’ve learned throughout the semester about facilities and event planning to organize and execute an event in the Dayton community.

The group includes sophomores Chris Junior and Colin Riley and first-years Cody Grube, Nathan Hill, Claire Fischer and Joey Gardner. Five additional students from the class, first-year Kelly Langan, sophomore Ryan McGarvey and juniors Julie Schimeck, Jake Lombardo and Jeff Pirtle, will serve as volunteers for the event.

Riley anticipates about 70-100 children of all ages will participate, and the activities will be divided by age group.

All of the children will participate in the Easter egg hunt, the five to nine year age group will play a series of Easter-themed carnival games, the eight to 13 year age group will decorate Easter egg ornaments, and the 14-to-18 year age group will play flag football or kickball, with a pool tournament as the bad weather contingency plan.

In addition to the activities, the University of Dayton students will also talk to the children about the professional opportunities in the world of sports and beyond.

“A lot of us played sports in school, and at the Boys and Girls Club, they talked about how a lot of their kids want to be college athletes or professional athletes,” Riley said. “They really wanted us to share how we use sports to create opportunities for ourselves, even though we’re not college or professional athletes. I hope to become a president of a sports team, but all of us have different goals in working with sports, so that will be good to portray to the kids as well.”

Aiyana Marcus, director of resource development and marketing at the Boys and Girls Club of Dayton, said the students sharing what it takes to be successful in high school and college will be a valuable experience for the children.

“For the children that we serve, the more positive interactions they have with caring adults, the more positive impact that will have on their academic and life success,” Marcus said. “As a follow-up event to our high school options workshop sponsored by the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, this event will provide our students with even more tools to become caring, productive, responsible citizens.”

The event is free and open to the public, and Riley said it would be a good opportunity for UD students to give back and explore beyond the campus bubble.

The event will take place Friday at 2 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club in Dayton, located at 1828 West Stewart St.