Bobcats in the Community

Banner Elk, NC--Lees-McRae's athletic department spent the 2006-2007 academic year giving back to their community in a variety of ways as they brightened up much needed areas, made places more peaceful, and gave of their time to others in need. This past year the student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and staff dedicate over 1,000 hours of community service in the local Banner Elk area.

Some of these projects included men's lacrosse re-constructing the Peace Garden on campus, athletic trainers picking up road-side trash on Highway 184 and women's softball teaching the Grandfather Home for Children softball. There were the track and field teams going to Johnson City, TN, to take part in the Dragon Boat Relays and coming away with a first place trophy.

With most of the student-athletes working outside of the college to help pay for their expenses we have had some take time to clean up the Elk River, read to elementary students, be a Big Brother/Big Sister, teach home schooled children sports, and become a part of our local churches worship services as well as their recreational activities.

For the Bobcats the highlight of the year came in the spring with the 2007 Mountain Day, as each team was assigned a project in the campus area. The results were amazing as student-athletes and coaches worked together investing time and effort into a place they often spend time . . . the athletic complex area.

From the cross country and track and field teams organizing and cleaning the pool area making it ready for renovations. They will also host several middle school/high school track meets showing off their facility and giving young people an opportunity to compete in such a high profile track.

Both men's and women's volleyball energizing the trophy case, thus making it the focal point of recruits, parents, friends, family and alumni upon entering Williams Gymnasium.

There was the men's basketball team and women's lacrosse lugging large rocks off of the area where the Mustard House once sat.

The tennis team organized and shifted weights around in the weight room giving it a glow it has not had in a while and making recruits as well as current student-athletes appreciative of the facility.

Men's soccer, a stalwart in the community with their youth clinics, camps, involvement in the Trunk or Treat project, continued their tradition of helping with the Avery County Habitat for Humanity project.

Men's lacrosse picked up trash around the entire complex making countless trips to the dump and preparing the area for an upcoming track meet as well as the 2007 outdoor graduation ceremony.

The cycling team helped clean up some of the roads around Banner Elk in preparation for their home race as well as picking up trash. They also spent some time this year helping with the Cycle North Carolina Bike Ride.

Women's soccer spent Mountain Day at Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Church planting flower beds, washing windows and having fellowship with one another. They have also spent some time volunteering to the town's big event . . . The Wooly Worm Festival as well as working with the Christian Children's Fund to help sponsor a child in the Philippines.

Women's basketball painted the trim on all of the doors as well as some of the doors to clean up the gym as well to go along with a much bigger project that occurred during the Christmas Break.

Speaking of Christmas Break, before all of the coaches got away for recruiting, much needed rest and time to spend with their families for the holidays they took part in the 4-day painting project transforming Williams Gymnasium into a bright and bold statement. The hallways which had not been painted since the construction of the building were given a fresh coat of white paint along with a green and gold stripe. Most of the coaches took part in this project as quality bonding time was had and a fruitful project was completed.

Now as current student-athletes walk down the halls they appreciate the opportunities they have been given here at Lees-McRae and what they can do to help make it a better place. In face several of the student-athletes have stepped up to offer their artistic talents and help paint a Bobcat mural in the weight room as well as some paws in the hallways.

With more projects lined up the Bobcats are not only giving back to the community, but the college as well in showing their appreciation for all they have received by being part of this special place in the mountains of western North Carolina.