ECC Teams With CACC to Host Ninth Annual Experience in Community and Character Workshop

ECC Teams With CACC to Host Ninth Annual Experience in Community and Character Workshop

Central Islip, N.Y. - On March 31 and April 1, the East Coast Conference and the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference teamed up for the ninth Experience in Community and Character leadership workshop. Over 40 ECC and CACC student-athletes gathered at the conference headquarters located on the New York Institute of Technology’s Central Islip campus to take part in the program.

“We had another great ECC Leadership Weekend,” said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. “We had outstanding student-athletes participating and excellent programs and presenters that really had an impact.”

The weekend kicked-off with a session presented by Dr. Nancy Kaplan that looked at the positives and negative impacts for student-athletes using social media and tips on ways to prevent problems. That session was followed by a presentation by Elizabeth McCourt of the McCourt Leadership Group. Elizabeth, an experienced professional coach and  speaker as well as a competitive tri-athlete, discussed leadership qualities that student-athlete have and need including the importance of resilience. Later that day, the combined group discussed Student-Athlete Advisory Committee successes and problems in a roundtable discussion with current West Virginia graduate student and former SAAC leader, Briana D’Amico.

Following dinner, the group continued a tradition of hosting a dance for area Special Olympians. With music by DJ Vic, nearly 70 young men and women who are involved in Long Island Special Olympics danced with our student-athletes, had their faces painted, took funny pictures, and decorated masks and picture frames. It was a great way to finish off a full day of learning, sharing, service, and personal growth.

Saturday morning began with two breakout sessions. The first featured Maura Attardi, Director of Financial Wellness at Money Management International, who spoke about financial literacy including budgeting and building and maintaining good credit. The student-athletes learned about effective communication and personal leadership skills in the other breakout session, always one of the favorites, run by former NCAA student-athlete, successful speaker, and entrepreneurial leader, John Dano.

"Thanks go out to all our presenters, who had such a strong impact on those who participated," stated Dranoff. He continued, "This year we added some new topics and left more time for interaction between our student-athlete leaders to discuss topics important to them. I think it was a valuable experience.”

CACC Commissioner, Dan Mara, also added, "It is great to see the student-athletes interacting with each other. They may play different sports and be in different conferences, but they all share the fact that they must balance academics and athletics while being able to work with others to accomplish a common goal. I believe this leadership forum enables them to acquire skills that will not only help them to be better leaders on their own teams, but to be leaders in life when they enter their chosen profession."

Dranoff wrapped up his statements on the event by saying, "We have realized that this is not a program only aimed at helping develop leaders but also committed to bringing personal growth. For that reason we do focus on gaining skills and personal qualities that will help them take positive steps in their future. It ends up being a lot of information in a short amount of time, but we hope these student-athletes will take this experience back to their campus and encourage others to take advantage of opportunities to grow as well."