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.