Last Saturday, THE University of Idaho came to town for the weekend while on their way from Moscow, ID to Logan, UT for a game on Monday against Utah State. Instead of hanging out and just relaxing, the Vandals organized their first ever Vandal Lax Buddy program.
Local youth players in attendance were able to get their very own buddy from the Vandal Lacrosse program, and enjoy a morning practicing and playing alongside college players from the University of Idaho’s lacrosse program.
Senior attackman Kyle Morse helping warm up a youngster’s stick before the scrimmage began.
Assistant Coach Ben Frey made sure all players in attendance were properly outfitted for the scrimmage. No blue and orange here!
Morse took his mentoring responsibilities very seriously, helping out the younger players as much as possible. Kyle will be a great lead for the Vandals’ offense this season.
The program is a great way for these players to share their love for the game with future lacrosse all stars from around the Valley. Sophomore midfielder Patrick Tunison shared that, “The event was definitely one of the more memorable events of my college lacrosse career. It was great to share my own personal passion for the sport with the kids who will be making up Idaho’s next generation of lacrosse players in such a fun and interactive environment.”
Players were able to receive signed posters from the entire team and spend some time just hanging out after the scrimmage.
Senior midfielder Charlie Cornforth said, “It was great to see all of the young players coming out and showing how much the sport is growing in the Boise area. A lot of these kids had amazing skill for their age level. We all felt honored to give back to the youth lacrosse community and we are looking forward to more lax buddy events coming up in the future.”
I spoke with Head Coach John Andrysiak a little more to find out about the program. [John in lead-in photo helping a youngster suit up for the scrimmage.]
KS: Coach, would you tell us a little about the Buddy Program and how it came to be?
JA: The buddy program is a huge deal for us, we have always felt like we wanted to start something in Boise, but have never really have been able to find our niche because of the boat loads of camps and other things that come through the Treasure Valley. This is our way of doing something fun, at very little cost, while getting kids involved with our program.
Tell me a little more about what the opportunities the program gives to interested youth.
This started as an idea of how we could get kids involved with all the places we travel, and what better way to start then where we get a big chunk of our team Boise. The buddy program is more then just playing lacrosse with our team, all the new “buddies” get weekly updates from the coaching staff and players letting them know how we are doing, upcoming events and drawings, and how they can continue to get better. The Buddy Program gives kids a year long membership and really keeps them involved with us throughout our season.
We plan to hold a few more buddy events later in the spring, for the kids to come to, and hopefully bring more friends. The ultimate goal of this is to keep growing the game, because there are so many kids interested in the sport, and we want to keep it that way. Our next steps would be setting something up like this in Northern Idaho, where another good portion of players on our team come from. We would also like to do some buddy events on the road as we travel to places where some of our players are from, just as a way of giving back.
Although this isn’t a completely free event, we are basically covering our costs to run it, and helping the little guys grow in a game that we all have come to love. I know that the future of lacrosse is with these kids, and keeping them involved is important.
Why did you guys pick Boise?
I think it is important to give back to the valley where the roots of our program really lie. If it wasn’t for the high school programs in Boise, at the early stages of our team, who knows if U of I would have ever started. Obviously now, we have a much broader area that our team is comprised of, but with the growth in the Treasure Valley, this was the perfect way for us to start this. We want kids to be excited about our program, and this gives us an opportunity to show that we really enjoy spreading the growth.
What did your players enjoy most about the Vandal Lax Program?
The guys on our team really enjoyed the fact that they got to hang out with a bunch of little guys who are enthusiastic about the game. It is really great to have our players get so involved and make the event fun for all age groups. I think the youngest kid we had at the event was 7, and he had a blast, which ultimately was the goal.
We are really excited for where this can go, and plan to have many more events like this as time goes on.
Thanks Coach, much appreciated.
Even as a program from 300 miles away, it was great to see a program give some of their time back to the community. Great job Vandals, good luck this season! Follow the Vandals on Facebook and Twitter at @Vandalax for in-game updates and other Vandalax news.
For more information on the Vandal Lacrosse Buddies, check out the flyer below!