Foundation Named for Former Lacrosse Player Bobby Campbell ('82)
Princeton, N.J. - On November 30th more than 120 civic leaders from Trenton and members of the central New Jersey lacrosse community celebrated the launch of the Trenton Youth Lacrosse program at an event sponsored by the Bobby Campbell Lacrosse Foundation at the Nassau Club in Princeton, N.J.
The Foundation, named for a former Penn State ('82) lacrosse player, has partnered with US Lacrosse, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mercer County and the Village Charter School to offer all interested 3rd though 6th grade boys and girls in Trenton an opportunity to learn how to play lacrosse this coming spring. This new program represents a broadening of the Campbell Foundation's mission to promote the sport in central New Jersey. Since Bobby Campbell's untimely death in 1999 the Foundation has sponsored free youth lacrosse clinics, provided college scholarships and camp grants, organized high school girls lacrosse tournaments and has fielded elite summer tournament teams.
Chris Cahill a teammate of Bobby Campbell's at Princeton High School (N.J.) and President of the Campbell Foundation said, "Bobby loved lacrosse. Through lacrosse he touched a great many lives as a player, coach and administrator. He'd be excited to know that his passion for the sport lives on through the efforts of the Foundation. We're breaking new ground here. Based on the track record of the people involved and the support we've already lined up from the Trenton community we feel we have what we need to be successful."
"Bobby Campbell was the consummate PSU lacrosse player - great player, enthusiastic, promoter of the program and the University at all times. No one was more positive about the game of lacrosse and what it can do for youngsters. Spreading the game of lacrosse was paramount to Bobby," said PSU Lacrosse Head Coach Glenn Thiel.
Former Penn State Lacrosse goalie Dan Brandt ('91) attended the event and serves on the Campbell Foundation Board. Bobby Campbell was Dan's lacrosse coach at Princeton High in the late 1980's. Dan said, "Bobby strongly encouraged me to attend Penn State. This new initiative to bring lacrosse to inner city kids would be especially satisfying to him. Knowing Bobby he'd view every single one of the participants as a potential Penn State lacrosse recruit."
US Lacrosse, the national governing body for the sport of lacrosse in the United States, created the BRIDGE initiative (Building Relationships to Initiate Diversity, Growth and Enrichment) several years ago to introduce and expand the sport of lacrosse in nontraditional and underserved communities to embody diversity of players, coaches, officials and supporters. BRIDGE programs promote individual and collective growth of participants through instruction, opportunity and relationships consistent with the identities and needs of each community.
Currently 16 affiliates across the country participate in the BRIDGE Initiative. The programs offer lacrosse as well as life skills components, ranging from tutoring to nutritional programs. US Lacrosse assists affiliated programs by giving them access to a variety of different resources. BRIDGE programs have utilized the coaches' education, camp scholarship, new start, youth equipment grant, Positive Coaching Alliance and youth award programs to further the reach and scope of their organizations.
John Morris, one of the founders of the Campbell Foundation said, "Youth lacrosse represents a real opportunity in Trenton. Not only will these young people learn how to play the fastest growing sport in the nation they will reap the benefit of our mentoring and tutoring programs as well. We really hope to expand their horizons and provide a bridge to the world outside of Trenton through scholarships and future employment opportunities."
The Foundation presented Chris Sailer and Bill Tierney, the Princeton University Women's and Men's Lacrosse coaches, with the first ever Bobby Campbell Community Service awards for the volunteer efforts of their teams at the Bobby Campbell Lacrosse clinics over the years. Both Sailer and Tierney pledged their support for the Trenton program. Chris Sailer said, "We're proud to be associated with this effort and look forward to being involved in whatever way we can." Tierney added, "If we can affect one life in a positive way, I'm sure Bobby would be a proud man looking down on us."
The Bobby Campbell Foundation has set an initial fund raising goal of $100,000 to seed the Trenton program. "We're looking for people who can help us by donating money or their time as volunteers, coaches, mentors or tutors", said Ken Foulk, the Executive Director of the Campbell Foundation.
"We'll be holding demonstration clinics at various schools in Trenton in January and February to introduce the sport to the kids. Our practices will begin in March and the season will run into late May or early June. In our first year we'll field two boy's teams and two girl's teams. The program will grow and expand based on the level of interest from the players and their parents," added Foulk.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Campbell Foundation and its programs can visit their web site at http://www.campbelllacrosse.org/ or write to Ken Foulk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be sent to The Bobby Campbell Lacrosse Foundation, Inc., PO Box 3129, Princeton, NJ 08543.