Month: March 2016

Rotaract Club’s Road to Kentucky

Post by: Daniel Warnecke ’17

Kentucky Poverty

An example of Kentucky poverty that the club will be impacting during their trip.

There is nothing easy about planning a trip to a place of unfamiliar territory, especially when that place is Beverly Kentucky—a town within the poorest county in the country. Living within the fruitful lands of the northeast can easily lead one into forgetting about how easy he or she may have it, and that is something that the members within Castleton University Rotaract Club are beginning to understand. The Rotaract Club is currently packing up their bags and hitting the road in hopes of bettering the lives of our fellow Americans in dire need.

The Rotaract Club during a past mission trip.

The Rotaract Club during a past mission trip.

Preparing for this mission trip has not been an easy task. It takes a certain amount of preparation, both physically and mentally, and has truly stirred up a multitude of questions within our club. Will we be able to raise enough money to go? What if the weather doesn’t pan out? How can we successfully plan such a huge trip within such a narrow timeframe? These questions were that of a realistic nature, but we have been able to come together as a club, fundraise, and make it happen. Even so, none of this preparation could have been successfully completed without some help. The Rotaract Club follows a simple motto: “Service Above Self.” This motto not only resides true within the hearts of the members of the Rotaract Club, but we, as a club, have also noticed that this motto resides strongly within the hearts of the Castleton University community. Our club has been granted generous financial help from Castleton’s Student Government Association (SGA), and has been blessed with continued community participation in fundraising events. The support has been awe-inspiring.

A member of the club, Emily Burke, with the Lanterns at their most recent fundraiser event.

A member of the club, Emily Burke, with the Lanterns at their most recent fundraiser event.

The support for the Rotaract Club, both financially and emotionally, has been encouraging, and has given club members a feeling of social importance. Just this past week, we set Chinese “WISH” Lanterns off into the sky to raise money for a wonderful charity, the Wounded Warrior Project. These lanterns gave individuals an opportunity to let go of bothersome thoughts, as well as recognize friends and loved ones that have passed. The turnout was wonderful and we were surprised at the amount of community support, recognition and donations that we received. It extended our belief in the amount of good that goes on within the campus boundaries, and its surrounding communities.

Service Above SelfThe Castleton University Rotaract Club cannot thank everybody enough for the amount of support that we have received. Our club is relatively new, but one would never think that to be true. In such a short amount of time, Castleton University and the communities that reside around the institution have shone their true colors—and they are bright!

Climb 4 Connor – Part II

Post by: Matthew Levins ’16

Climb 4 Connor 2016The second annual climb this year was not so much about whether or not we could complete the daunting task ahead of us, rather more about how we were going to top the first annual climb. The first climb was a huge success, so how could we possibly top it? I’m not quite sure that it can be simplified into one aspect of how we topped it, but I believe it is safe to say that we did.

Connor's brother, Ben Roberts, belaying as his mother climbs up the wall.

Connor’s brother, Ben Roberts, belaying as his mother climbs up the wall.

Prior to the start of the climb my teammates, as well as myself, really pushed for non-lacrosse players and guests to come participate. The mission shifted from how much money we could raise, to how many different people we could impact through climbing. Basically, instead of aiming for a monetary approach, we decided to take an impact-based approach this year. If we could spread the competitive nature that Connor had, than it seemed feasible that we could potentially defeat the 1,500 climb margin set the previous year.

Connor's close childhood friend, Zach Devoid, belaying during the climb.

Connor’s close childhood friend, Zach Devoid, belaying during the climb.

I remember the exact moment that I truly thought that the competitive nature of Connor had spread to the participants – I recall hearing that someone had done 30 climbs in a row, which I knew was a somewhat excruciating task, and this was just a few hours in. For the next few hours it would be one-upped, literally, time after time. This pattern continued into the next day, and into the final hours of the climb when Castleton student, Justin Wilkinson, stopped by the climb as a climbing enthusiast and did something like 107 straight climbs. Not only was it a giant number, it was also completed on the hardest of the available routes.

Connor's helmet hangs on the wall during the climb.

Connor’s helmet hangs on the wall during the climb.

I knew we had accomplished exactly what we intended when this “competition” took place, and that the numbers would come. It was without a doubt in my mind that we would beat the 1,500 climbs from the year before as soon as the competing amongst climbers began. The clock struck 8 pm and I looked around, everyone exhausted, chalk everywhere, and I knew something special had just occurred. Connor’s competitive nature spread throughout the 2,080 climbs amongst nearly 140 different climbers.

Ben Roberts and his mother after she climbs the wall.

Ben Roberts and his mother after she climbs the wall.

Climb 4 Connor is without a doubt one of my favorite events I have had the opportunity to participate in as a student-athlete here at Castleton. It has been a truly special experience to watch the way this fundraiser has grown within the past 2 years, and it is something I certainly will not forget. With my May graduation date approaching, and where a career will take me next year uncertain, I know that one thing is for sure, I will be marking my calendar to be at Castleton for the 2017 Climb 4 Connor.

Donations were made via a GoFundMe account.

Climb 4 Connor – Part I

Post by: Matthew Levins ’16

Climb 4 Connor 2015

Group photo with Castleton President Dave Wolk at Climb 4 Connor 2015.

Athletics have been a significant part of my life—from playing youth league soccer to NCAA DIII collegiate lacrosse. As I grew older and began to play on more competitive teams, an important ideology was taught; that ideology is the effect of giving back to the community. Many teams that I have participated on have valued the importance of community service and utilized the power of the team to accomplish something larger than the sport itself; I myself also value the importance of giving back to the community. With that being said, Climb 4 Connor largely stands out in my mind.

I was involved in Climb 4 Connor’s inaugural year, as well as the second annual climb this year. Climb 4 Connor is an event that the Castleton Men’s Lacrosse team has hosted with Norwich Men’s Lacrosse in order to raise money and honor the memory of former Norwich Men’s Lacrosse player Connor Roberts. Climb 4 Connor is very different from any fundraiser that I have ever been apart of because it is a “marathon” style fundraising event. A very close friend of mine, Isaac Devoid, started the climb with the help of Castleton Men’s Lacrosse Coach Bo McDougall.

Climb 4 Connor 2015

The Devoid brothers with Connor’s family and Darin Erin.

I’ll never forget the feeling in my stomach before the first climb began. We received an overwhelming amount of support prior to the climb, so the pressure was on. I honestly wasn’t sure if we could even do it. To climb for 24 hours straight seemed possible, but could we pull it off? The next moments are some that I will never forget, the clock ticked to 6 pm and the Devoid brothers (Isaac and Zach), close childhood friends of Connor Roberts, began the first ever climbs to take place in the Climb 4 Connor event.

Just hours after the event began, we all realized that we could do it. We were climbing for 24 hours straight, but the next question was could we climb the wall 1,000 times over. The following hours seemed to be a competition, rather than a drag, of who would go up the wall the most and carry us to the 1,000 climb mark.

Climb 4 Connor 2015

One of the routes set for the climb, titled #9 to honor Connor.

I recall the final hours of the first climb, many of the men’s lacrosse team was present, but there was no media, no publicity, just us, closing out with the final climbs. I don’t think it really hit us what we had accomplished, we climbed 1,543 times in a 12 hour period, and the majority of the climbs came from within the team. I’ll never forget how tired everyone was, but the toughness that we showed sticking it out until the end was incredible. I believe that when something is for a cause, no matter the pain and suffering, it’s all worth it in the end.

Climb 4 Connor 2015

Some of the men’s lacrosse team taking a break at the top of the rock wall.

The light at the end of the tunnel for the climb is the gift of education. You see, with the help of the Climb 4 Connor fundraising event a scholarship is given to a senior at Bellows Free Academy St. Albans in order to help them afford a college education. It is because of this purpose I felt that brought us through completion of the first climb.

Donations were made via a GoFundMe account.

Stay tuned for the post about this years Climb 4 Connor next Friday, March 18…

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