Bush Elementary Students Participate In Willamette's First Bearcat Day

SALEM, OR- The clouds parted over McCulloch Stadium as 150 Bush Elementary students joined various student-athletes this afternoon for Willamette’s first Bearcat Day.

Bearcat Day was created to give the students a day of play, a day of instruction, and a day in the life of a collegiate athlete. The stadium echoed with sounds of laughter and cheer as the students participated in eleven activities across the track and football field.

Student-athletes taught fundamentals through sport specific drills and games. Among the sports taught were basketball, cheer, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and track & field (hurdles, javelin, long jump, shot
put, sprints).

“Bearcat Day was envisioned to give the students a chance to participate in a variety of sports, said Audrey Squires, co-president of the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).

“Many of these kids don’t have the opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular activities,” adds Squires. “The school offers the Boost after school program which includes activities and study groups, but the children only have one P.E. class a week and due to the expenses of club sports, many are unable to join after school teams.”

Bearcat Day was created by SAAC, a committee made up of student-athletes each member of which represents one of Willamette’s 19 varsity sports. The group discusses issues involving the student-athletes’ experience and
serves as a voice for the University’ s student-athletes to the athletic department, campus-wide committees, and on NCAA legislation.

SAAC presidents Audrey Squires and Paul Crisalli introduced the idea of Bearcat Day to the athletic department and Bush Elementary, and submitted an application for a Lilly Outreach Grant.

The Lilly Outreach Grant provides eligible clubs and volunteer service groups with funding to help the production of the community service project.

With the help of the Lilly Outreach Grant, SAAC was able to award each Bearcat day participant with a ribbon and an Honorary Bearcat Athlete certificate.

After the awards were distributed, the Willamette volunteers and students relaxed under the sun, quenching their thirst with fruity otter pops before the students returned to school.

“Bearcat Day was a huge success and we hope to make it an annual event. I think the student-athletes were inspired just as much as the kids as it allowed us to reflect on the impact that athletics has made on each of
our lives,” said Squires.

“Bearcat Day allowed the athletes to be kids again, playing for the love of the game.”