Summer Bridge aids college transition

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More than 60 incoming Campbell University student-athletes participated in the inaugural Summer Bridge program during the 2019 summer session.

Organized by Dr. Andrew Carter, Assistant Athletics Director for Health and Nutrition, Director for Student-Athlete Support Jared Fries and Academic Coordinator Elizabeth Homan, the series of classes and seminars covered a variety of topics from exploring core values, goal-setting and academic planning to Campbell history and traditions, as well as physical, mental and spiritual wellness.

“We’re very excited about our initial offering of the Campbell Athletics Summer Bridge program,” said Carter, who is in his 12th year on the Camel staff and third as coordinator of the department’s student-athlete development area. “It was a great opportunity to engage and get to know our freshman student-athletes on a more personal level, while providing them with resources and tools for success during this important period in their lives as they transition into their freshman year.”

The program, which consisted of eight sessions throughout the summer, helped serve as a foundation for a successful transition from high school to college, as well as to integrate the incoming student-athletes into the Campbell Athletics community.

“It gave the freshmen a lot of information about what’s going on, where to find help, and a lot of good tips about goal seeking to get us on the right track going into the fall semester,” said incoming women’s soccer player Ashleigh Harris.

Freshman baseball player Houston Koon also benefited from the program.

“It’s really made the transition from high school to college easier with the work load, making friends and being away from home for the first time,” Koon said. “It just makes the whole process a lot easier.”

Hour-long meetings included topics such as social media awareness and branding as well as a workshop to create fall semester academic, personal and athletic goals. In addition to Campbell University faculty and staff, student-athlete alumni were invited to participate in a workshop panel to provide some firsthand experience to the newest generation of Camel athletes.

“The first semester as a freshman student-athlete is difficult, trying to juggle academics, athletics and a social life, especially in an unfamiliar setting. So knowing their core values and establishing goals ahead of time will help them stay focused when it gets difficult,” Homan said.

The Summer Bridge is the first stage of a Campbell student-athlete’s development with the ultimate goal of preparing for a successful career after graduation.

“This summer bridge program along with our other initiatives like Camels LEAD, a leadership development program now entering its third year, and our newly launched Campbell MADE program for career development will allow us as an athletic department to prepare our student-athletes for life well beyond the playing surface,” Carter said.

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