Sept. 15, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Excellence, Education, Tradition, Faith, Community – This is the Irish Experience. Inspired by these five key pillars of the Notre Dame Athletics Department, the newly formed office of Youth and Community Programs will kick off one of its first initiatives this fall – the Irish Experience League. The league, a youth flag football league and life skills development program, begins on Sept. 25 and aims to build community while inspiring young children within the ideals of Notre Dame Athletics.
The goals of this initiative are to couple flag football with the Play Like A Champion Today Educational Program (a youth sports initiative of the Alliance for Catholic Education) to positively influence children in the community to strive for their goals and dreams. The free program is open to boys and girls in grades 5-8 and will be held on Sunday afternoons from 1:30-3:30 p.m., at two community locations (The Martin Luther King Center in the Westside neighborhood and Kelly Park in the Northeast neighborhood.) Registration is required and a form can be downloaded here.
Notre Dame athletic staff and student-athletes will serve as coaches in the league, but the department is seeking faculty, staff and students to join the student-athletes in volunteering. One of the goals of the program is to strengthen internal community on campus, which the Athletics Department hopes to achieve by opening up the volunteer opportunity to the entire campus community.
The Irish Experience League is being spearheaded by Kevin Dugan, manager of the Youth and Community Programs in the Athletics Department. Dugan, a former student-athlete (Lacrosse ’01) was himself inspired as a child by the positive influence of Notre Dame athletics.
“I believe very strongly in the power of Notre Dame student-athletes and coaches to inspire, impact and influence children in a positive way,” says Dugan, who says he can speak from personal experience. “I used to watch Notre Dame football games with my grandfather every Saturday and learned about the inspiring life story of Rocket Ismail as a child. He was my hero, I did everything I could to try to be like him, and he was a great role model; he overcame adversity, worked hard, was disciplined, had character and was himself inspired by faith. This league will put our student-athletes in a position to have this type of impact on children throughout the community.”
For more information on the Irish Experience League you can call the office of Youth and Community Programs at (574) 631-8788 or send an email to email@example.com. Next week, UND.com will feature a series of stories on the new youth sports initiative highlighting each of the five pillars of Notre Dame Athletics each day.
— ND —