SBHS student athletes worked during the summer with South Burlington Recreation and Parks Department. L-R Odessa O’Brien, Cora Kakalec, Amelia Pape, Mehul Shah, Katherine Yang, and Kevin Le.   

Track Athletes Put their Skills into Action

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Thursday December 08, 2016

Despite summer traditionally being a time of relaxation and a break from school, several South Burlington High School (SBHS) students found job and volunteer opportunities working in a track and field program this past summer with South Burlington Recreation and Parks (SBRP). 

SBHS students Mehul Shah and Ryan Croxford, who were paid interns, led a group of seven volunteers in the program. Holly Baker, the assistant director of SBRP, explains that the high school and rec department are “both in the business of providing extraordinary community opportunities. If we can help raise each other up in a broad way, that is a success.”
“A typical day would start with a coaches’ meeting about 15 minutes prior to the start of practice. The coaches would then lead campers in a warmup lap and stretches. We would then do some sort of drill to get the athletes moving and typically we ended with a game,” says Shah. Student volunteer Odessa O’Brien adds that her favorite part of the day was when she coached the athletes on the long jump because it helped her “see a different perspective of the sport.” 

Also part of the volunteers from SBHS were Kevin Lee, Madison Fornasier, and Katherine Yang. Lee and Fornasier stated that they enjoyed coaching the kids at the meets and watching them improve, while Yang said she loved watching the young athletes play. Yang added, “During the workouts, we would have to encourage the kids to keep running, but we could watch the kids interact during the games.”   
All the students reported enjoying the experence they had through the track and field program, even though they acknowledge there were some challenges. Fornasier learned that finding an activity that would engage and appeal all ages was challenging and Lee added that it was difficult to make practice meaningful for all of the athletes “because of their different personalities and interests.” 

Despite a few difficulties, the SBHS students had a memorable experience. Reflecting on her time with the track and field program, Yang said she loved the one-on-one interaction with the kids. O’Brien and Fornasier both agree that they are pleased with their volunteer work with SBRP because work with SBRP because, while it provided a long-term volunteer opportunity, it was also rewarding to see “the kids learn and improve.” Lee reported that he would highly recommend the program to others, saying, “The time commitment was very flexible and I enjoyed coaching the kids.” Shah added, “I look forward to the summer track season.”

SOURCE: Ann Wong, SBHS CDC Correspondent