In the past month, Culver Academies has been able to reach out to underserved youth, using its nationally recognized CMA lacrosse program as the introductory vehicle.
OWLS Lacrosse, a youth development program in Chicago, brought a group of middle school boys and girls to campus on Saturday, Oct. 19. Members of the CMA Prep lacrosse team took the students on a tour of campus in the morning. After lunch in the Lay Dining Hall, the students went to the low-ropes course in Woodcraft Camp for leadership training exercises. They finished the day practicing lacrosse drills on Oliver Field with CMA players.
The day was arranged by Jack Parchman ’04, who serves on the organization’s associate board, and coach Jon Posner. Parchman was introduced to OWLS Lacrosse by a friend while playing club lacrosse. He joined the associate board when it was formed in 2016, seeing the program’s goals align with the Culver Mission.
Parchman, who came with the group, said the trip has been in the works for several months. “We tried to do it last year,” he said, “but we simply ran out of time.”
Sam Angelotta, executive director of OWLS, said the Culver trip is one example the students selected for the OWLS Academy program take during the year. OWLS Academy is an intensive year-round program designed for academic, social, and athletic development.
The students must apply to participate in the program. Only 20 to 30 students are selected and each is assigned a mentor who works them academically as well as their lacrosse game. The students attend programs every Saturday and work with their mentors regularly. It is intensive, Angelotta explained, so trips like Culver serve a double purpose.
It provides a break in one sense, he said, but the Culver trip also serves “as an example” of what is possible if the students stick with the program. The group takes field trips to museums, Rush Memorial Hospital, and surrounding universities, like Northwestern and Notre Dame.
“By about the third trip, things start to click” with the boys and girls that the field trips show them what is possible if they stick with the program and work hard academically.
This hasn’t been the only Culver connection OWLS Lacrosse has experienced. Angelotta said P.J. Bogle ’14 worked with the organization for his leadership project.
Earlier in the month, Joel Censer, the chief program officer of Harlem Lacrosse, which has programs in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, visited campus. Harlem Lacrosse provides school-based, full-day, year-round support for at-risk students. Using lacrosse as the model, adults serve as tutors, mentors, and coaches who provide individualized attention to help students reach their full potential.