Last Saturday the GW men's soccer and swimming and diving teams volunteered at DC Scores' Annual Fall Frenzy. A total of 25 Colonials between the two squads volunteered at the event.
DC Scores is an organization that was founded in 1994 with the mission to use sports to help kids in need and create neighborhood teams that give children the confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom and in life. DC Scores is the flagship of the national organization America Scores which stretched across 13 cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.
Fall Frenzy is a round-robin soccer tournament with teams made up of students representing DC Scores' public and private charter elementary schools and recreational centers in seven of the District's eight wards. Fall Frenzy also features activities such as facepainting, fitness booths, relay races and a creative expression table in between tournament games. This year's Fall Frenzy took place at Trinity University's athletic fields and included more than 1,000 children, over 150 volunteers, 96 soccer games, 22 partner groups and 11 activity booths.GW's student-athletes helped referee the day's matches, while members of the men's soccer team also focused on instructing the youngsters. Men's swimming and diving senior Ben Fitch and men's soccer sophomore Thor Arne Hofs helped coordinate the Colonials' efforts.
"We were helping as referees, but we were also coaches because many of them never really played soccer before," said Hofs. "We were helping them with throw-ins for example, or encouraging them and telling them that they did a great job, so they would maybe stick with this sport, if they like it."
The men's soccer team works with DC Scores on a regular basis, volunteering at weekly games at elementary schools to referee and teach participants about soccer.
Saturday marked the men's swimming and diving team's first time partnering with DC Scores.
"It's always good to see how programs like DC Scores have such a positive impact on youth in DC," said Fitch. "Not only were the kids engaged in the games, but the parents were as well. The program does a great job of connecting kids with role models and getting the entire family involved. Additionally, the academic side of the program, which explores education and literacy through poetry, is an important part of the program we did not get a chance to see on Saturday."
The Colonials helped keep the children engaged for the six-hour event, providing a fun day of activity while promoting a learning environment.
"The most important part was definitely that the kids were able to play and got to move a lot," said Hofs. "There were some really good players who can become great players in the future, but if no one helps them at that young age, they wouldn't get to play and might not stick with soccer. Moreover, volunteering at events which relate to soccer and children is really enjoyable for our team."
As the Community Service Chair for GW's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Fitch has spearheaded the swimming and diving team's community service efforts.
"This year our team has a goal of participating in meaningful community service events," said Fitch. "We want to participate in events that actively make the lives of those around us better."