Money, teamwork, and life long skills

Last month at Castleton State College, the women’s basketball team was confronted with stories about rape, abuse, and sexual assault. The Take Back the Night March was held at the college in response to the recent sexual assaults on campus and the basketball team agreed to attend to show support for the people who have been victimized recently and also in past years.

By showing this support, the team was awarded CHAMPS/Life Skills Points. The CHAMPS/Life Skills program is a NCAA sponsored program with a goal to support the student development initiatives of the NCAA member institutions and to make the quality of the student-athletes’ college experience better.

A reward of $500 is what the varsity teams are after.

Every time an athletic team supports their fellow athletes, they are awarded points. This can be achieved by, among other things, having 80 percent of the team present at a game or making posters or tee-shirts.

The tasks and points awarded are documented by Deanna Tyson, the dean of athletics at Castleton, and are tallied up at the end of the year. Whichever team has the most points is awarded $500.

By attending Take Back the Night, the basketball team accumulated more points. After winning this competition four out of the past five years, they are currently again in the lead.

“I hope we win. The players are excited to do this and we’ve had good leaders when we’ve won,” said Tim Barrett, the coach of the women’s basketball team.

If the team wins this year, the money will go toward the basketball-oriented trip Barrett plans to make to California next year.

“Every year the college sends an athlete to a CHAMPS/ Life Skills leadership conference in Florida,” Tyson said.

This past year, Vanessa Carter was the student-athlete selected to go.

“We were divided into groups and we all came up with a problem at our school,” Carter said. “We got input from people from other schools and it was an amazing experience.”

This conference, better known as the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program Continuing Education Conference, is where programming ideas are exchanged and is an opportunity to focus on personal and professional development.

For the remainder of the school year, the varsity teams will continue to compete for the $500 reward and in doing so will learn how to be a better athlete, student, and community member.

“I have little influence. I leave the leadership to team members,” Barrett said about his team that plans to continue their three-year winning streak.

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