BAC Student to Run Summer Lacrosse Camp in West Philadelphia

Bryn Athyn College sophomore Chantal Farmer will run a week-long, non-profit lacrosse program in West Philadelphia this summer. The General Church in Bryn Athyn, via the New Church Service Grant Fund, has provided Chantal with the seed money to make this project happen, and Chantal is currently working to raise the final 30% of the funds, which amounts to $1,500.

Why a Camp?
Chantal says, “The inner-city neighborhoods of Philadelphia do not have access to lacrosse. I would like to provide kids with an opportunity they might never have because lacrosse is a rather expensive sport that many public schools do not have the funds for. I believe lacrosse can change the lives of the inner-city kids just as it changed mine.”

Chantal grew up in the city and went to public school and then a charter school that did not have sports or even a playground because it was not within the school’s budget. She recalls being a very timid child who barely cared about her education. Although she was shy she did have a very active lifestyle with her family, and she always enjoyed having outlets where she could direct her energy.

After moving out of the city and starting at a new high school in a semi-suburban area, she says things began to change. In her sophomore year of high school she was heading home one day and her sister asked if she wanted to go to a lacrosse open gym to see if she liked it. Chantal says, “I found that I was a quick learner in lacrosse. I was able to direct my spare time to something productive and fun without feeling stuck inside. Through my high school lacrosse experience I opened myself up, became more extroverted and found myself so happy and passionate about school.  This high school experience carried out into my college years.”

In February of 2017, Chantal and her family experienced a tragedy– her father was murdered. Chantal says, “I felt as if I would never be able to move past that moment and those feelings. I had been taking on a lot of work, class, and sports and did not think I would ever be able to catch up to where I had left off. I came back to school after spring break and lacrosse season was starting. I talked to my coach about how I was feeling, and she encouraged me to allow lacrosse to absorb all my stress; it was my time in my day to not have to worry or think about everything I thought was wrong and overwhelming in life. My team and my friends had my back, and lacrosse has been a bridge that has carried me through many tough times.”

The Project 
Chantal says that this program will give her the opportunity to give girls in her community the chance she was given. The non-profit summer camp will teach participants the basics for lacrosse including ball handling, attacking, and defensive skills. Participants will benefit from the exercise and from the constructive time in a safe environment. Chantal says, ” The summer is about having fun outside with people you love. This will hopefully create bonds that these girls can continue to develop each summer. I plan to expand the program with each subsequent year as interest grows. It will provide volunteer opportunities to the girls who have aged out of the program while continuing to increase their skill set. ”

Chantal will work closely with BAC women’s lacrosse head coach, Denise Roessler, to organize the particulars of the lacrosse training. Chantal has also met with Kaitlyn Fitzgerald, head coach of BAC women’s field hockey, and received a helpful outline of what it takes to run a sports summer camp. With this support, and that of the New Church Service Grant Fund, Chantal is well on her way to manifesting this project. The camp will use the Shepherds Recreation Center’s outdoor field, located at 5700 Haverford Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19131. Chantal’s budget estimate is $5,000, which covers the cost of equipment, insurance, promotion, and coaching. If you are interested in contributing to her project and helping her raise the final $1,500, follow the link below to her GoFundMe page. in a new window

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BAC Gains Full Membership to NCAA Division III

Just days ago Bryn Athyn College was granted full membership to the NCAA Division III after four years of provisional membership. The process was completed a year faster than is customary, and that’s due to the fantastic work of our athletic department in meeting all the requirements and obtaining a waiver to combine the last two years of membership into one. The official press release is below. GO LIONS!

Bryn Athyn College Granted Full Membership to NCAA Division III

Bryn Athyn, Pa. – The NCAA Division III Management Council has notified Bryn Athyn College that it has successfully completed the provisional membership process and will compete as full members of the NCAA Division III starting fall 2017. As a full NCAA Division III member, the College will be eligible to compete for national championships and will have voting rights on NCAA legislation.

President Brian Blair said, “Bryn Athyn College is very pleased to gain full membership into NCAA Division III.  This membership provides our student athletes with opportunities to compete at a high level while also participating in programs that emphasize the safety, soundness, and overall character- building of the student-athlete.”

Bryn Athyn made quick work of the membership process, completing the standard five-year process in just four. The robust and exciting growth of the athletic program has infused the campus community with extra energy and school pride, as the 150 student-athletes at the college eagerly await a fully competitive upcoming year in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.

Athletic Director and Vice President of Business Development at Bryn Athyn College, Matt Kennedy, said, “This news from the NCAA marks a new day for Bryn Athyn College and our athletic programs. We are now a full NCAA Division III member, which provides our student-athletes with the opportunity to play the sport they love while working towards obtaining a degree. I would like to thank President Blair and the administration for their support and trust over the past four years of this incredible journey through the NCAA provisional process.”

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President’s Corner

Each month President Blair will be posting on the blog to recap what’s been going on and talk about what’s on the horizon. Here’s his first post, covering the month of April and looking ahead to May!

April has been a busy month at Bryn Athyn College. The academic year is steaming ahead toward completion, and excitement is building toward graduation. A number of events have punctuated the calendar recently, including the Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP), the first annual Parents and Family Day, NCAA Division III week, the Academic Achievement Awards, and Diversity Day.

I am proud of the hard work our students put in throughout the year, but it’s especially fun to see the community of learning that is formed in the library during LNAP. Over the three LNAPs this year, 922 scholarly hours were logged by our students, and many personal academic goals were reached.

Parents and Family Day was held on April 8, and saw about 65 guests enjoying the event which included a welcome brunch, tours of campus, Cairnwood Estate, and Glencairn, an opportunity to cheer on the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, and a BBQ on the terrace where the local band Hillbillies of Cohesion played a delightful set.

NCAA Division III Week gave our athletic teams the opportunity to volunteer in different ways throughout the community. The soccer, lacrosse, and basketball teams all offered clinics or helped out at the Bryn Athyn Church Elementary School practices. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee also got the student body to participate in making a mural for suicide awareness. Colorful handprints symbolized the willingness to lend a hand to those in need.

The Academic Achievement Awards are always an important moment to recognize the often-quiet work of scholars. Those on the dean’s list were honored, as were recipients of scholarships and grants connected to particular majors or initiatives. One new award was given this year to the winners of the Career Olympics. Team Djibouti was honored with gold medals and a cash prize for their excellent work creating resumes, LinkedIn profiles, attending a networking/interviewing event, and making a video for prospective employers.

Diversity Day was held indoors due to inclement weather, but that didn’t dampen anybody’s spirits! “Simple Gifts,” a talented string duo, played a variety of instruments from a range of cultural traditions while students, faculty, and staff roamed the Great Hall and sampled delicious cuisines from around the world.

It’s been a great month, and I look forward to seeing you all at upcoming events like the BAC Carnival on Saturday, April 29th; the Senior Capstone Project Presentations on May 10; the FeelGood Run and the Spring Dance Concert on Saturday, May 13; and graduation on the weekend of May 26.


President Blair


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Athlete of the Week: Hannah Bracey

head shot of Hannah BraceyHannah is a starting freshman on the women’s lacrosse team, hailing from Fawn Grove, PA, where she attended Kennard-Dale High School.

In the season opener for the lions, Bracey scored four goals on eight shots and notched one assist in the win against Mt. St. Vincent. She also tallied two ground balls and one caused turnover.

We asked Hannah why she loves lacrosse. She said, “One thing that I love about lacrosse is that it gives me an outlet. I tend to be kind of quiet and timid in most spheres of life, but none of that matters when I play. As soon as I step onto the field I can be a different person: one who is aggressive and loud.” Congratulations, Hannah!


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BAC’s Coach Fitzgerald Talks to

Kathleen Harte Simone, founder and editor of Philafieldhockey.comopens in a new window, interviewed Bryn Athyn Coach Kaitlyn Fitzgerald about the 2017 inaugural season. Reading these excerpts from the article gives you an idea of what the culture will be like in this exciting new program!

Bryn Athyn College will roll out their first-ever field hockey program this fall, competing in the NCAA Division III North Eastern Athletic Conference. The Lions are just one of five field hockey programs in the conference including three from New York (Keuka College, Morrisville State and Wells College) and one from Pennsylvania (Wilson College from Franklin County). Kaitlyn Fitzgerald will lead the Lions in their inaugural season. Fitzgerald is a 2009 graduate of Towson University where she was a four-year member of the Division I field hockey team as a defender. She began her coaching career at Wilkes College, while obtaining her masters degree, and has served as an assistant coach at Arcadia University for the past three years. While there, Fitzgerald helped lead the Knights to a MAC- Commonwealth regular season title and was instrumental in recruiting.

I caught up with Fitzgerald to find out more about establishing a new program, what she’s looking for in a student-athlete, her goals for the program, the new field, and more.

Your team will assemble in August for the first time. How is the recruiting process coming along? “It’s been a cool process starting from scratch and looking for the right type of player that I feel will make an immediate positive impact on the program. With us being a smaller school, and a first year field hockey team, I have been traveling a lot both in and out of PA to attend high school games and tournaments, and getting many athletes on campus to get our name out there and experience the culture at Bryn Athyn. Not many people have heard of us but once they go through the process and then come on campus, they are in awe of how beautiful and new it is and are extremely interested in our degree programs. The education and athletic programs are unmatched here and I truly mean that. We want to be an integral part of each students’ successes both on and off the field.  It’s also been nice and exciting to have student-athletes from other teams — like women’s lacrosse — express interest in playing for the season. We encourage dual athlete participation to gain the full experience.”

What are you looking for in players: “I’m looking for the type of player that wants to leave a mark and make an immediate impact on a first year program — a player with a strong work ethic and leadership qualities. I think it takes a special type of player that looks at a program starting from scratch and sees the direct benefits of wanting to go through that journey. So far I have been very lucky in finding some of those players to lead us to where I envision us going! The energy and positivity of the recruits who are committed so far makes me so excited to be their coach and to help them develop.”

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