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Penn Charter’s Target volunteers for Fields of Growth (@LaxVolCorps) in Jamaica

Wednesday, 16th August 2017

Categories Boy's/Men's, International  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/16/17
From Staff Report

After spending 3 days as a volunteer with Fields of Growth in Kingston, Jamaica, Penn Charter rising senior lacrosse player Blake Target has gained a great appreciation for the future of lacrosse in Jamaica and the positive impact the sport can have on its youth.

Blake Target (lime green shirt, second from left at top) is seen here during his 3-day volunteer tour at the Trench Town Culture Yard in Kingston, where Bob Marley (replica in middle) is honored. Courtney Target is to Blake’s right and parents Stephen and Denise are at far right

“There are some really strong natural athletes in Jamaica who have the potential to be great lacrosse players if provided with the right training and education about the game,” Target said. “It was a great experience to help the youth of Jamaica learn the game that I love so much.

“We may take for granted the opportunities we have to be coached by great coaches, to play on grass or turf fields (versus dirt or little grass) and to have the strong support of our country. The Jamaican youth are just being exposed to the game, yet still have made some strong progress.”

The 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse World Championships, featuring 50 participating countries and 2,000 athletes will be held July 12-21 next summer in the city of Netanya, Israel. The 2018 games will also host a new competitor who has only been recently introduced to lacrosse in the last couple years.

As for the development of lacrosse in Jamaica, the Jamaican Lacrosse Association boasts, “Lacrosse is dubbed the fastest game on two feet. Jamaica is home to the fastest people on earth. Lacrosse and the Jamaican people are a perfect match.”

The goals of the Jamaica Lacrosse association are close to being achieved, thanks to the vision and hard work of Kevin Dugan, founder and CEO of Fields of Growth and Lacrosse Volunteer Corp. and the recipient of the 2015 FIL Development Award for his contributions to the growth of the sport worldwide. Dugan is a 2001 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a former member of the Fighting Irish men’s lacrosse team.

Dugan, a former finance major, had a brief stint at Merrill Lynch, before going on to coach college lacrosse full-time. He made stops at Wheeling Jesuit, Gordon, Yale and Scranton before serving as the Director of Operations for the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program and ultimately moving on to run Fields of Growth full-time.

Dugan, an Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey native, also serves on the Development Committee at the Federation of International Lacrosse, where he helps advance their goal of seeing lacrosse added to the summer Olympics.

Target, a 2018 attackman committed to the admissions process at Franklin and Marshall, was introduced to Dugan his freshman year of high school by his advisor, Paul Blackwood. Mr. Blackwood, born and schooled in Jamaican, saw a connection between Blake’s passion with lacrosse and the opportunity to support the mission of Fields of Growth and the Jamaica Lacrosse Association.

Mr. Blackwood’s mother, Margaret Bolt, is also the Headmaster of Holy Trinity High School in the heart of Kingston Jamaica and the center of lacrosse development for the country. After several brainstorming sessions, Blake and Paul Blackwood organized several equipment drives to collect and ship to Jamaica a variety of lacrosse equipment and clothing to be donated to the growing youth lacrosse movement. Fortunately there was also strong support was offered by Uprising Lacrosse Club, the Penn Charter lacrosse team as well as generous donations by Downstream Lacrosse/Lax Zone.

As plans move forward to form the Jamaican team, tryouts and identification of players continues in Jamaica and the selection of Lehigh University Assistant Coach, Errol Wilson to be the Head Coach of the Jamaican National Team has been made. The team will continue to be formed with the North America Tryouts being held this Saturday, August 19, at Lehigh University. Details and registration can be found at www.jamaicalacrosse.org

Target, who embarked on the volunteer trip with sister Courtney and parents Stephen and Denise, wants to take another step in supporting the cause.

“This spring, I also hope to sponsor and host a few Jamaican High School students for a trip to Philadelphia to experience American high school and to participate in high school lacrosse practices and games,” he said. “We are finalizing the details for this new exchange student program and hope to be able to make it work.”

Regardless of the outcome during the 2018 FIL games, the Jamaican National Team will certainly have a great deal to celebrate. The country will no doubt have the opportunity to root on a new crop of athletes to join in the successes of past winners in more traditional sports like track/field, soccer (football) and even bobsledding.

Should anybody be interested in volunteering for or learning more about Fields of Growth and Lacrosse Volunteer Corps, please visit http://fieldsofgrowthintl.org/ Or contact Blake Target directly at btarget14@gmail.com

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