NEW HAVEN, CONN. - - The Wilmington University Department of Athletics was recently selected as the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Community Engagement Award Winner for the 2019-20 campaign. The Wildcats, in conjunction with the Women's Sports Foundation, celebrated National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) back in February during a women's basketball game at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Women's Sports Foundation is proud to be in its 34th year of honoring female athletes, coaches and leaders through its NGWSD program. The foundation also uses the "Lead Her Forward" campaign by acknowledging the power of sports to unlock limitless potential in females.
Wilmington's day of celebration was led by Associate Director of Athletics Erin Harvey, who organized and scheduled a number of events geared at encouraging young women to be excited about sports. Girls from around the Wilmington area were on hand for the women's basketball game to take part in a variety of activities.
Local young females were paired with game workers from the Wildcats' women's sports team to successfully manage an NCAA Division II women's basketball game. The young women held such jobs as the game day administrator, public address announcer, floor sweeper, athletic training assistant, team manager, table manager, t-shirt table handler, in-arena DJ, photographer, and webstream graphic operator.
Before the game, the new staff members were given a tour of the athletic facility, spoke with the University's athletic trainers and current women's basketball team student-athletes and coaches, while also having the chance to ask Director of Athletics, Dr. Stefanie Whitby questions about what it is like to work in sports.
During the game, the girls served as the event staff. Other members of the community sat in the audience with current Wilmington female student-athletes, engaging in conversation about life as a student-athlete and the opportunities sports have provided. T-shirts commemorating the event were given out to the event staff, first 50 females in attendance, and WU women student-athletes.
"The event was great and it was cool to see how much goes on behind the scenes", said participant Graciela Nemeth (age 11). "I look forward to coming back and learning even more next year."
"I had a lot of fun." Emma DuBois (age 7) stated. "My favorite part was being on the bench with the girls on the team and talking to them. I can't wait to do it again and try a different job!"
Toni Bush Neal, whose daughter Michaela (age 12) participated, shared "Thank you for the opportunity to have Michaela take part in this event," said Toni Bush Neal, whose daughter Michaela (age 12) participated in the day. "She had a great time and talked about it to everyone within earshot for days. She learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience."
"NGWSD gives us a chance to celebrate all girls and women in sports," said Harvey. "It is extremely important that we continue to support, inspire, and motivate young women to continue to be involved in the sports they love. Athletic participation instills so many great values and principles that will empower females in their education, local communities, and in the decisions they will be forced to make. The talents and experiences can lead to careers in sports and more importantly, help develop life skills that will carry them far into the future."
Wilmington will now be considered for the NCAA Division II Community Engagement Award, which will be announced later this year prior to the 2021 NCAA Convention.