ECC Second Experience in Community and Character Leadership Workshop A Huge Success
Central Islip, N.Y. - Over 40 East Coast Conference student-athletes gathered at the conference office located on the NYIT Central Islip campus this weekend for the second Experience in Community and Character leadership workshop.
“What an outstanding weekend for the East Coast Conference, our member schools and especially our student-athletes,” said ECC Commissioner Dr. Robert Dranoff. “We have made, as a conference, a strong commitment to supporting the overall growth of those young men and women who represent our athletic programs and this leadership retreat - the Experience in Community and Character (ECC) - is a major part of that commitment.”
The weekend kicked-off with an exploration of leadership styles which included a DiSC assessment and self-discovery discussion led by Maricela Shukie from the NCAA. Next, the student-athletes worked on creating their personal brand and practiced their “elevator speeches” on one another.
"The ECC leadership retreat succeeded in raising our awareness of leadership qualities, both in ourselves and in others,” Kris Frick, a senior member of the C.W. Post soccer team stated. “The session leaders kept us engaged and gave us lots of information over the two-day period.”
The two-day programming was not just focused on leadership, but spanned a variety of character building topics that would help student-athletes prepare for the future. The Teachers Federal Credit Union provided a session on personal finance while Nancy Kaplan and Lamar Lee of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) hosted a thought-provoking session on diversity.
On Friday evening, the student-athletes headed to a local restaurant for some good food and a lesson or two on proper dinning etiquette. Former Athletic Director and current Vice President of Molloy College, Bob Hulahan, provided tips spanning from which utensil to use how to start conversations at a dinner party. The fun continued at the bowling alley where the student-athletes showed their completive side on the lanes.
Former student-athletes stopped in on Saturday morning to discuss their careers and the transition from college to the professional world.
"Speaking to the athletes was enjoyable and slightly emotional,” reflected former C.W. Post women’s Soccer player Marissa Vouris. “All I hope is that the student-athletes were able to walk away with one thing new they learned and the reminder to enjoy each day left as a college athlete... I would do anything to go back to a championship game.” Vouris was joined by Teelah Grimes (Dowling, women’s basketball), Jelani Arnold (NYIT, baseball), Dana Galante (Molloy, women’s basketball) and Mike Abbene (Dowling, men’s lacrosse).
The event culminated with a Valentine’s Day Carnival for local youth. Over 60 families showed up for the event which featured carnival games run by the student-athletes, valentine craft stations, picture opportunities with school mascots and dinner.
“For us,”Dranoff continued. “The best part was watching our men and women interact with the different children and families during our Valentines Party which turned out to be a great community engagement activity. Working with the South Shore Youth Organization and Melanie Holz, we were able to provide a fun, free evening for area kids and an experience our ECC student-athletes will remember for a long time.”
The ECC Experience in Community and Character is another way to enrich the student-athlete experience as well as bring together the East Coast Conference community.
“Not only did I meet and become friends with players I never thought I would, but I was able to take in and understand the impact my attitude and actions have on both my team and the East Coast Conference,” commented Asia Pulse, a Freshman on the Bridgeport Women’s Soccer team.
“The rewarding aspects about the weekend were the friendships that were made with kids that I play against during the season and how this weekend showed it’s not all about competition and who's better then who, but it was about working together as one team for a common goal of learning what it takes to succeed in life,” added St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore soccer player William Miller.