MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 28, 2010

Bacone athletes learn as they teach

— Bacone College football players taught area youth how to block, stretch, tackle and more. Along the way, players learned a few leadership skills.

The team’s effort, both in community service and in practicing servant leadership, ties into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes Champions of Character program, said the head coach at Coach Wolf’s Youth Pad Camp.

“They are putting out a positive role model for the kids at the camp,” Bacone coach Lloyd Spotted Wolf said. “They are showing them they, too, have a possibility of success and a future through athletics.”

The NAIA program encourages coaches and athletes to work on five core values: Integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

Bacone Assistant Vice President of Athletics Alan Foster wants all athletes at Bacone to experience giving back to the community.

As part of the Champions of Character program, all athletic teams are required to participate in one community service activity per semester.

“We want to teach them of the importance of giving back to the community,” Foster said.

Last year, the Bacone track and field team spent time at a local retirement home playing bingo and helped raise money to give prizes to the residents.

Members of the golf team volunteered at the Georgia-Pacific’s annual golf tournament that raises money for the local United Way.

The volleyball team spent time painting and cleaning at the Muskogee County Council of Youth Services, and the football team assisted with Special Olympics events in Muskogee last year.

For volunteer Matt Stevens, his first experience working with youth came Monday evening.

Stevens helped teach fourth through seventh graders stance, blocking and other basics.

“It took me back to when I was a little kid playing football,” Stevens said. “I got to pass what I’ve learned on to them, and I felt good teaching them something that I’m passionate about.”

Bryan Perkins, Bacone wide receiver, participated in community service activities last year and the youth camp this week.

He said he enjoyed his first experience volunteering with young children at the Special Olympics and teaching youth the basics of being a wide receiver at football camp.

“I feel like it betters me as a person, gives me lots of practice and experience working with young kids,” said Perkins, a sports management major.

While the football players and their coach set out to teach area youth about the game, they also set out to become a part of Muskogee’s community.

“We want to be Muskogee’s football team,” Spotted Wolf said. “We want Muskogee to know we care about them because this is our home now, too.”

Foster said Muskogee has done a good job supporting Bacone, and he wants his athletes to give back.

“We are always looking for new projects,” Foster said. “It’s such good experience for them to go into the community and give back.”

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