Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/30/09
Courtesy of SuburbanOneSports.com
If the North Penn girls’ lacrosse team was looking for a way to catch the true spirit of Christmas, it recently found it.
Two Saturdays ago – the day of the year’s major snowstorm – the Maidens’ players and coaches took part in a community service project for those less fortunate when they delivered baked goods to Manna on Main Street in Lansdale. Manna is a soup kitchen and food cupboard that provides services to those in need.
“(Coach Jami) Wilus and Pops (assistant coach Joe Wilus) came up the idea of contributing not just on the field but off the field as well,” senior Brittany Hanrahan said.
Jami Wilus said she wants her players to learn the value of service.
“Our team has become such a family,” the Maidens’ coach said. “Lacrosse is very important, but we want to teach our players there are other things in life, and there are people who are less fortunate.”
The idea was discussed last fall, and when plans to initiate a service project for Thanksgiving fell through, the players opted to do a Christmas project instead. “We knew we wanted to do something as a team to give back to the community,” senior Halie Lear said.
Joe Wilus, the Maidens’ goalie coach, made the initial contact with Manna on Main Street..
“They said around the holidays they have a lot of help, but they were in need of desserts for Christmas dinner,” coach Jami Wilus said. “We ran it by the girls, and they seemed enthusiastic, but we weren’t sure how they would follow through.”
While “Pops” coordinated the project, the seniors assumed a leadership role.
“We sent out an e-mail saying we wanted to do something as a team,” Lear said. “Anyone willing who wanted to could help out.”
Wilus promised Manna on Main Street that her team would come up with 10-15 desserts. They did much better than that, delivering between 20 and 25.
“It was really cold, and I didn’t think a lot of people would be able to come because of the snow, but everyone showed up,” Lear said. “They didn’t have enough room to keep all our stuff in the house, so we had to put it in the church next door. It was really fun. We knew we were helping out.”
The wide array of desserts included different types of cookies, pies and cakes.
“We had just about everything you could imagine,” Hanrahan said. “A lot of the girls baked what they liked the most.
“Someone made Italian cookies, and one of the underclassmen baked this huge apple pie. It wasn’t just little Christmas cookies and Santa things – everyone came up with their own thing that they love, and they just contributed.”
Sometimes, according to Wilus, it’s the things that happen off the field that set the stage for a team’s success on the field.
“You lose seniors, and your first thought is, ‘Okay, we need to fill this position and that position,’ but sometimes it’s more about off the field stuff and building chemistry and bonding as a team,” Wilus said.
The underclassmen on this year’s squad have had the opportunity to watch the seniors initiate a service project that turned out to be every bit as gratifying as winning a lacrosse game.
“It was great doing something as a team that we knew would help the community and also bring us together as a team,” Lear said.
“We were really excited to be able to give back to such a good cause,” Hanrahan said. “It made us feel really good that we could help other people in the community, and it was so perfect with the snow falling.”
It also made Christmas just a little bit better for everyone involved.
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Tags: North Penn