April 27, 2016

On Sunday, April 23, The Catholic University of America's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) joined forces with Campus Ministry's Brookland Outreach to host their third annual Brookland Field Day at Cardinal Stadium.

Brookland Field Day is an event for the children and families in the campus' surrounding community. Families are invited to enjoy an active day on campus by participating in games and activities hosted by Catholic student-athletes. Varsity team along with club sports facilitate drills, games, and skills related to their respective sport to give the children of Brookland a variety of activities for the afternoon. Overall, the day is a way to integrate the Brookland Community with Catholic student-athletes through the education of sport.

Field Day for neighborhood children

"I think that the kids who attend Field Day see good examples of young adults staying active and it helps them to want to remain healthy in their own lives," explains Catholic SAAC vice president and women's lacrosse junior, Laura Dunn. "I think the student-athletes benefit even more because it is a unique community service event designed for us to share the sport that they love with little kids who look up to us."

April 23 was a beautiful sunny afternoon in the nation's capital, where over 200 members of the local community ventured to Cardinals Stadium for the festivities. Eleven varsity sports including, men's & women's basketball, field hockey, football, men's & women's lacrosse, men's & women's swimming & diving, men's & women's track & field, and volleyball led sports specific activates for the participates. Additionally, three club sports, women's rugby, women's ultimate frisbee and men's ice hockey volunteered to help educate and interact with the Brookland youth.

"Service looks different to everyone," says Catholic Brookland Outreach leader and senior swimmer, Nicole Castellano. "I feel Brookland Field Day is a way for athletes to get involved by sharing their love for their particular sport to younger generations. The positive feedback we received this year from kids and their families was tremendous."

The event requires months of planning by both Campus Ministy's Brookland Outreach and SAAC. Brookland Field Day is unique from other Campus Ministry service events because all of the volunteers that plan and execute the event are student-athletes. Members of SAAC team up with student-athletes who participate in Brookland Outreach to form committees that orchestrate the different aspects of the event, decorations, food, games, activities, prizes, and registration.

"As a senior, this event was bitter sweet for me as it was the last community outreach event," explains Castellano. "For me, CUA Field Day embodies everything I am passionate about; children, healthy living, and service. I chose Catholic four years ago, because I felt it met all my needs as an athlete in and out of the pool. The athletics department has given me the opportunity to serve in the community as well as train to the best of my ability."

The Catholic Athletics mission states that the department seeks to provide a safe, supportive environment that fosters integrity, respect and dedication to the highest standards of student athletes as well as enhance and sustain opportunities and experiences for the physical growth and development of all students. Off the field, the annual service event, Brookland Field Day helps fulfill this mission by giving student-athlete the opportunity to share their passions with the surrounding community.

"I feel very fortunate to be a member of the Catholic athletics because our department is so generous with community service," said Dunn. "All of the coaches and administrators are huge supporters of our community service efforts as a collective group. Many other schools do not have this many readily available opportunities for community service, and I am so thankful that we have incorporated it as an integral part of our student-athlete identity at Catholic University."