BRISTOL, N.C. - Conference Carolinas held their annual, over-night Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting at Xtreeme Challenge in Monroe, N.C., on Friday, September 20, 2013. The retreat featured two special guests, Jess Pashos from Team Impact and Drew Van Dyke from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The SAAC retreat provided an opportunity for representatives from each institution to come together to discuss legislative proposals and upcoming initiatives from the conference. King University was represented by a pair of student-athletes, Tia Keitt of the women’s basketball team and Tallas Snodgrass of the women’s track & field team.
The retreat focused on motivating participants to go “All In- Give More, Achieve More, and Be More” (the retreat’s theme) as representatives of their institutions and community.
During the course of the retreat, student-athletes participated in team building exercises at Xtreeme Challenge. These challenges required SAAC representatives to develop creative ways to solve problems and overcome obstacles. The group participated in a raft building challenge, an adventure trail, and a ropes course that focused on collaborative effort in order to accomplish a goal.
"This year we wanted to make the SAAC retreat equal parts informative, inspiring and fun for those in attendance, and I think we accomplished just that” said Conference Carolinas Director of Compliance and Senior Woman Administer Ashly Berry. “Xtreeme Challenge was a superb outdoor facility where we got to do all kinds of fun and challenging team building activities, but the highlight of the weekend was having Drew Van Dyke, a local Make-A-Wish kid, and his family in attendance. Drew stole the show immediately and touched the hearts of everyone.”
Drew Van Dyke, 10 years old, accompanied by mother, Dawn, and father, Dan, shared their story about Drew overcoming cancer. Drew was diagnosed with two cancerous brain tumors at the age of eight years old. The Van Dyke family discussed the hardships they underwent as Drew fought and beat cancer. The Make-A-Wish Foundation funded a trip for the Van Dyke family to travel to Hawaii during the summer of 2013, which Dawn Van Dyke described as a way to help the family to move forward.
“There is no doubt that having Drew and his parents share their story was more impactful than anything else we did over the weekend,” said Berry. “It was great for our student-athletes and advisors to physically get to meet and hear the story of a child who has benefited from the Make-A-Wish program and all our institutions' fundraising efforts."
Jess Pashos, a representative from Team Impact, also presented at the retreat and discussed Team Impact’s mission of partnering kids facing life threatening illness with athletic teams. Pashos shared stories and discussed ways to be involved in Team Impact. Team Impact is currently working with the King University women’s basketball team.