In mid-July, a group of SOAR365 campers enjoyed an afternoon of dribbling, passing the ball, and shooting hoops with four VCU basketball players who visited Camp Baker’s Reinhart Center gymnasium. Several VCU student athletes had participated in a similar session last summer, and enjoyed the experience so much that the Rams requested another visit to Camp Baker this year to continue their community engagement.
“Camp Baker was an unbelievable experience for me! To see the smiles on the campers’ faces just from us being there and having fun playing the game we love was an experience I will never forget,” said Connor Odom, a VCU senior. “This is a really good cause, and I can’t wait to go back!”
In addition to leading the basketball-related activities, VCU team members participated in bowling and one-to-one conversations with campers. This collaboration created a unique experience for the campers, VCU athletes, and Camp Baker staff members.
Engagement with community partners like VCU Athletics is an important component of SOAR365’s efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusivity in the Richmond community and create meaningful connections. “What I’ve definitely heard from several players is that they learn through these volunteer opportunities that giving back isn’t just about donating money,” said Rohanna Meade, Synergy Technical’s President and CEO, who connected SOAR365 with VCU Athletics and accompanied the VCU players to Camp Baker. “Sometimes the act of just being there for someone is worth more than a monetary contribution.”
A big shout-out to VCU Rams Sean Bairstow, Zeb Jackson, Connor Odom, and Max Shulga – and to Ro Meade and Levi Stockard of Synergy Technical – for a fun-filled Friday afternoon. The campers can’t wait for another one!