By Laura Riley
Recently we had the opportunity to speak with residents of the Boys and Girls Club Theme House. Theme Houses allow students to purposefully define their on-campus living experience and contribute to the greater campus community through service. This service is in accordance with their goals, interests, and pursuits and their efforts relate to the mission of each individual group.
The Boys and Girls Club Theme House is made up of 6 upperclassmen. Last month, the group of men joined the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay for a day supported by The Donald Driver Foundation. The afternoon featured family games, an inflatable obstacle course, arts and crafts, a healthy meal and the Punt, Pass & Kick Challenge.
The six men dedicated their afternoon to leading the Punt, Pass & Kick Challenge. A fitting assignment seeing as three of the individuals are members of the St. Norbert football team: Danny Egan, Mark Villers and Ryan Kaltenmark. Here is their take on being able to serve with the local nonprofit.
“Volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club is rewarding because it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community. When we were at the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition the kids were asking the football guys if they were on the team at St. Norbert. I thought it was really cool because it is clear that we are giving them someone to look up to.” -McKenzie Thiel ‘14
“Honestly, the most enjoyable aspect of volunteering is the feeling we get when we know we’ve helped someone, or maybe even had a positive impact on the kids. I think we are showing the kids that people who play college football can really be anyone. That may sound like I’m disrespecting the football players who volunteer with us, but what I mean is that these guys aren’t above anyone else. They show the kids that college football players are still human. I can tell we are having an impact because of how excited the kids are when we work with them. The looks on their faces during the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition said it all.” -Ryan Dauman ‘15
“The most enjoyable part of volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club for the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition was being able to actually provide the kids with an opportunity to take part in a fun and competitive activity. The kids really enjoyed learning the basic fundamentals of football and seeing them have fun provided me with a sense of gratification that I was helping out the community. Also, as a St. Norbert football player I felt like a role model to the kids who wanted to learn more about the game. I believe the biggest impact we’re having on the community is that we’re simply giving the kids an opportunity to come together and meet new friends, while also providing them with a positive environment.” -Danny Egan ‘15
“The most rewarding aspect of volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club is simply giving back to the community. Throughout my childhood I always had an adult helping me along the way, especially through athletics. Volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club is a great opportunity now that I am in a position to give back. I believe that our volunteering has a very positive influence on the kids. One reason is because we are role models to them. This is especially beneficial because some may not have many positive role models in their home life. Secondly, when the kids grow up, hopefully they will remember the time and lessons we gave them and will want to give back to their community when they are older as well.” -Mark Villers ‘15
“The most enjoyable aspect of volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club is just knowing that we are helping out in the community. We really get to see the kids having a good time and how they look up to us. The biggest impact I think we have on the kids is being role models to them. I especially feel that way as a football player in the area and as someone they can look up to and see where hard work gets you.” -Ryan Kaltenmark ‘15
The theme house partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will continue throughout the academic year. The group will continue to assist with sport-related events like flag football and basketball tournaments. Not only is the group having an impact on the youth, the youth are having a positive effect on the upperclassmen as well.