Washington Stealth Defenseman and Sticks-2-Schools Instructor Chris McElroy and his Stealth teammate Chris O’Dougherty made the latest Sticks-2-Schools stop at the Maplewood Center School in Edmonds to show middle school students the benefits of living an active and healthy lifestyle through lacrosse.
Sticks-2-Schools, the non-profit partner of the Stealth, is a program that donates lacrosse equipment and curriculums to local schools. Player representatives, like McElroy and O’Dougherty, talk to the students about the importance of exercise and a nutritious diet as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
“The instruction of Chris McElroy and Chirs O’Dougherty gave the kids a lot of motivation about staying fit, healthy and being true to their game or whatever activity they are playing,” said Maplewood Center School PE teacher Erin Shull, “I believe the age group that was here, which is 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, are definitely going to start thinking more about what they are going to put into their bodies and how they take care of themselves.”
6th Grader Sam McCloughan, who is a talented soccer player outside of Maplewood Center, was picking up a lacrosse stick for the first time in his life.
“This was my first time playing lacrosse, it was hard but really fun,” said McCloughan. “Both instructors (McElroy and O’Dougherty) were really good teachers and I learned a lot.”
In attendance for the classes and the assembly that followed was registered dietitian and Sticks-2-Schools Executive Board Member Jennifer Okemah.
“Sticks-2-Schools is an incredible program, it brings grass roots lacrosse in a tangible way to the schools,” said Okemah. “Mac and OD have an excellent way of connecting with the kids and really incorporate a healthy living with the game and skills of lacrosse which makes the kids more receptive to the information they are getting about living a healthy lifestyle.”
O’Dougherty, who was participating in a Sticks-2-Schools outing for the first time this year, was excited to be back and optimistic in the work they had done with the kids throughout the day.
“This is the first Sticks-2-Schools experience that I’ve had this year I think it went well,” said O’Dougherty. “The teachers were welcoming and I think the kids were receptive to the sport and the overall message. Everyone seemed to have a good time and we definitely got a good sweat going,” he added with a laugh.
For McElroy, the Sticks-2-Schools program instructor, the school visits are something that he is growing accustomed to this season and something that he enjoys doing as part of his job.
“I enjoy having the opportunity to teach the kids two things about which I am very passionate: the game of lacrosse and the importance of making healthy choices,” said McElroy.
Both McElroy and O’Dougherty will be back in Edmonds next week to continue the Sticks-2-Schools program and spend more time with the middle school students of Maplewood Center School.