By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Members of the Green Bay women's basketball team spent some time giving back to the community and fans who give so much to them by volunteering for the 10th annual Kids' Day event held June 25th at Leicht Park in Green Bay, Wis.
The three-hour event included autographs from players as well as an opportunity to shoot baskets with them.
In 2003, Mayor Jim Schmitt created Kids' Day to celebrate and show children how special they are to their families and the future of Green Bay. The event serves to reinforce the city's appreciation of their hard work in school and community.
"To have a successful community, the youth need to have mentors and the athletes at Green Bay provide a great example of that and are looked up to," Schmitt said. "I think the student-athletes provide a great example to this community not just volunteering for events but academically. We need to have a sustainable community and their involvement helps."
Each year Green Bay student-athletes complete over 4,000 community service hours. Coaches, staff and student-athletes are highly visible in the community, participating in children's events such as the annual Kids' Day, pep rallies at local schools as well as reading books. In addition to speaking to service organizations, student-athletes host camps and clinics and participate in fundraising events for local charities.
Student-athletes that serve as mentors not only help out the youth and the community, they too benefit and understand the importance in giving back.
"I think when we were freshmen we never really understood the importance of community involvement and the impact it has," said senior Adrian Ritchie. "We may only be in contact with a few people during a community event but word of mouth goes a long way and that's how we build relationships."
Following the Kids' Day event, members of the team traveled to Grand Chute in show of their support for head coach Kevin Borseth who was throwing out the game's first pitch, landing it right down the middle of the plate. Borseth also spent time in the Time Warner Cable booth discussing his two favorite sports, baseball and basketball.
"The connection between Green Bay and the university has become stronger and stronger over the years and I think that's really important. We take a lot of bragging rights having the university here from an academic standpoint but to incorporate it into a community setting as well really helps the whole greater Green Bay community," Schmitt said. "They're fun to work with and they show at the community events that they really want to be here. Their efforts in being involved in the community are going to pay dividends down the road for a more stable community."
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