Student athletes give back to the local community

Laramie County Community College athletes might bring entertainment and joy to Cheyenne residents through their hard work on the field or hardwood, but they also volunteer their time through community service activities.

Student-athletes at LCCC are required to perform 20 hours of community service around the local area. Each team works with an organization or helps out with youths in the Cheyenne community.

The men’s soccer team has already wrapped up most of its community work this year by working with various groups around the Cheyenne community.

“We helped out with Cancer Race for the Cure,” Men’s Soccer Team Head Coach Vince Gibson said. “We’ve done that for the past four years. That requires us to set up, take down, and we actually help run the event. We have guys on the corners directing traffic and we have guys helping the runners by giving them water.”

The men’s soccer team also cleans up Lions Park after Cheyenne Frontier Days.

“We’ve done that for eight or nine years now,” Gibson said. “We go in there and spend about three to four hours cleaning up the whole park.”

The men and women’s soccer teams help out in the community together by reading to students at elementary schools and by helping out with the Cheyenne Soccer Club.

“We will go and help set up their fields, put up their nets, put up their goals,” Gibson said. “We will help some of the coaches and we will do some training with them (kids) too.”

Along with helping out the Cheyenne Soccer Club, the women’s soccer team volunteers its time by helping set up for the Walk of Grace, which is a part of the Grace for 2 Brothers Foundation.

“It’s for suicide and suicide prevention, and it’s done every year out at Lions Park in August,” Women’s Soccer Team Head Coach Jim Gardner said. “The kids go out and help with setting up tables and they stuff giveaway bags.”

Along with helping set up, the athletes on the women’s soccer team also help by putting up signs around Sloan Lake and by cleaning up the park after the walk.

“It’s a full day, 8 o’clock to 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon job,” Gardner said.

The volleyball team donates all of the proceeds from its annual Dig Pink Match, which takes place the second to last home game of every season.

The team auctions off various donations that the team has received throughout the year through a silent auction that goes on during the game.

“The big money winner is our uniforms,” Austin Albers, head coach of the volleyball team said. “The pink uniforms that the girls wear during the match are auctioned off during the match and then all those proceeds go toward breast cancer. Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative is who it went to this year and last year. We’re usually right between $1,500 and $2,000 that we fundraise during that (match).”

Women’s Basketball Head Coach Brian Ortmeier said his team has yet to participate much in the community service projects this year because of practice and games but it does plan to get more involved with the community come the Spring 2018 semester.

“This first semester we were able to get over to Burns and Pine Bluffs,” Ortmeier said. “We did some shoot arounds there and we got to mingle with some of the girls in those communities and from their junior highs.”

To go along with reaching out to the Burns and Pine Bluffs communities, the women’s team connected with the young kids at the Children’s Discovery Center on the LCCC campus on Fridays during September.

“It’s fun to be able to see our girls interact with those kids on campus and be able to reach out to some of the families in the community,” Ortmeier said.

Just like the women’s basketball team, the men’s team has yet to get heavily involved with the community due to practice and games. Head coach Jason Ficca said that he plans on getting his team more active with the community once the team’s season is over.

The men’s basketball team did go out and interact with a few elementary schools before the season started. The players helped out with various school events that were put on specifically for the students of the elementary schools.

Athletics come together as a group every year and put on a youth academy for the children around Cheyenne to learn more about various types of sports that are offered at LCCC and some that are not.

Scott Noble, former director of athletics and campus recreation at LCCC, said that the student-athletes work with the youth in the community on baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, swimming and roping; which the kids really love.

“We are trying to provide an opportunity for the youth of Cheyenne to come in and experience the different types of sports,” Noble said. “Not just the sports that we have, but a whole wide range. The kids come in and rotate activities, they spend right about an hour at each activity a day and it goes on for the whole week.”

The Golden Eagle Youth Sports Institute has been in place since the summer of 2015 and will take place this year on June 11 through the 14 for age groups 6-9 and on June 25 through the 28 for age groups 10-12. The event will take place on the LCCC campus and cost $200 for the full week with lunch included or $100 for the morning or afternoon sessions.


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