On Thursday, Jan. 19, over a thousand sixth-graders from all over Utah County will gather on BYU campus to participate in Y-Serve’s annual Sports Hero Day. This service program, which BYU volunteers organize, gives the young students insight into BYU athletics and helps them find positive role models to emulate in their lives.
“Children at that age are searching for heroes, role models to whom they may look to help guide their paths,” Y-Serve director Chris Crippen said in an email. “Sports Hero Day is an opportunity for young students to mingle with college athletes, learn about healthy lifestyles, teamwork, unity, etc. and be inspired by good, positive examples.”
Crippen also explained that BYU athletes are among the best around, not just athletically, but also personally.
“They strive to balance their academics with their athletics while including a lot of service in their lives. They are great examples to look to as role models for a successful life,” Crippen said.
Students will begin the day by participating in 20 minute rotations with different athletes. Athletes from the football, men’s and women’s soccer, rugby, lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, swim and dive and volleyball teams will be represented at the event. It is the first time ever in the event’s history that extramural teams (like lacrosse and rugby) will be represented.
After the rotations are complete, students will be brought together to experience a power rally put on by Cosmo the Cougar and BYU’s cheer and dunk team.
To conclude the event, four athletes will speak to the students about why it’s important to work hard. The speakers will include: Ashley Hatch from the women’s soccer team, Cheyenne Hill from the gymnastic team, Corbin Kaufusi from the basketball and football teams and Tanner Mangum from the football team.
Seth Arygle, a sixth grader from Brockbank Elementary school in Spanish Fork, Utah, said he thinks it’s important to have a role model in life to help him get through hard times and learn how to work hard and be a better person.
“I am excited to listen to the people talk to us and meet all the players. It’s going to be a fun field trip,” Argyle said.
Anna Killpack, a junior at BYU studying recreation management, volunteered at this event last year and is helping out again this year. She expressed how she loves being a volunteer because she remembers being a kid and looking up to all the people who took time out of their lives to spend time with her.
“Those people shaped me and who I am. I volunteer so I can give back in a small way, like the people who shaped my life did,” Killpack said.
Courtney Fairbourn, the program director in charge of the event, invited all to come and help make an impression on these sixth graders.
“They are in a very impressionable stage,” Fairbourn said. “They not only look up to the athletes, but they get to joke around and really get to know all the volunteers because they are the ones taking the kids around to each station. It’s a lot of fun and really cool to experience this excitement.”