Student-Athletes Help Make Sportsfest a Special Day

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 5, 2013

More than 60 Montgomery County Rotary Special Athletes (MCRSA) joined representatives of Arcadia Special Athletes Association (ASAA) for a day of soccer, volleyball, swimming and relay races on March 23 for the annual Sportsfest. The event continues to build upon the strong relationship Arcadia University forged with MCRSA more than 25 years ago.

Student-athletes representing men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s basketball, and men’s and women’s swimming participated.

Rotary Special Athletes Coordinators Heidi and Dennis Russel have played a big role in this partnership, mentoring Arcadia’s volunteers as in developing their coaching skills. This year, when the Russels were unable to attend Sportsfest, the onus was on ASAA to make it a success. Michelle Morgan ’13, President of the Association, oversaw the event, coordinating all the activities—even the “Under the Sea” themed décor.

“The day turned out better than even we expected,” says Morgan. “There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a smile everywhere you look, on every athletes face throughout the entire day because they’re enjoying themselves that much.”

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Board of Trustees member Dave Paone ’04,’09M and Director of Athletics Brian Granata.

“Sportsfest is a valuable Arcadia tradition with a fantastic organization,” says Granata. “It’s a great opportunity for athletes to come together to change attitudes and transform lives through sports.”

The Arcadia Student-Athlete Advisory Committee worked with Director of Intramurals and Recreation Jack Jephson to host a Blacklight Dance for Arcadia students on Saturday evening. Funds generated from the event resulted in a $500 donation to MCRSA, and a matching donation to the Special Olympics.

From holiday dances to weekly volleyball practices, ASAA coordinates opportunities for special athletes to socialize and enjoy friendly competition in Greater Philadelphia—crucial elements in their growth as individuals. The student-run group is planning several summer events, including a three-day weekend visit to Camp Canadensis in the Poconos in May.