The Keene State College Student Athlete Advisory Committee, otherwise known as SAAC, has paired with the Keene Parks and Recreation Department in hopes to lead youth athletes, K-1, in a six-week basketball program. The program first took-off near the beginning of January. Now, in its third week of meeting, the program aims to focus on teaching children basketball through drills and leading stations. These drills help the children improve on their footwork, dribbling, defense and shooting skills. They also aim to start building each and every athlete’s confidence on and off the court.
KSC softball coach Carrah Fisk Hennessey was the SAAC advisor, advising drills and leading the student athletes who participate at the practices. Hennessey believes that the partnership between SAAC and Keene Parks and Recreation is really important for youth sports, as well as offers many opportunities. The first session was produced with lots of help from all of the KSC coaches, Athletic Director Kristine Kelly, as well as some athletes from the track and field team. Among the first group of student athlete helpers were junior Taylor Bisaillon, junior Jared Hannon, sophomore Nicole De Almeida, junior Anthony Jennings and sophomore Quinn Dorogi.
Bisaillon, a member of the KSC women’s soccer team and women’s track and field team, believes the program opens up a lot of opportunities. “The clinic was a great experience. All the kids were super enthusiastic and excited to be there, which made our jobs really easy,” Bisaillon said. Bisaillon said that she thinks it’s important for college athletes to get involved with events like this because it encourages kids to get active. They will also want to continue competing in sports which are not only fun, but help build character. All in all, the event was a lot of fun for both the kids and the volunteers, Bisaillon added.
Juniors Hannon and Jennings both think that participating in the program was a great experience and found working with the youth easy and fun. Both track and field athletes believe the program is a good foundation for the building blocks of the future athletes.
Dorogi said the best part about being able to help out in the program is that “we get to share our passion for sports with the kids, and really pass that onto them.” The kids are not only getting physical exercise through the program, but emotional/mental benefits through socialization, added Dorogi.
“I think this program will benefit Keene in the sense where it will bring the community closer. Student athletes get to know the other athletes on different teams, and by working with the kids of Keene, we get to know them and their families,” said Dorogi.
The program (Keene State SAAC) is also sponsoring a Keene State Parks and Recreation Youth Basketball Night that will take place Tuesday, Jan. 30 during the women’s and men’s basketball games in Spaulding Gymnasium. As a part of the event, kids can wear their jerseys to get in free with a parent and come onto the court to be recognized at half-time.
The overall mission the Keene State SAAC program would like to intensify is the total student-athlete experience by promoting athletic, academic, and social opportunities for all student-athletes,protecting student-athlete welfare, fostering a positive student-athlete image and providing a forum for student-athletes throughout the campus, conference, and NCAA. SAAC posted this on the KSC athletic page. SAAC hopes to encourage the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship, while still enabling the tenants of the NCAA Division III philosophy to discover, develop and dedicate.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org