(July 27, 2018) — Now in its sixth year, volunteers from the School of Medicine organized the HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp, hosting about 30 children from the D.C. General Family Shelter.
"Everyone has a smile on their face and is here to serve," said Arturo Gyles, an assistant coach for the Georgetown football team. A few of his players joined incoming and current School of Medicine students to give homeless children a chance to stretch their legs, run around and have fun during the free, week-long sports camp.
The camp, which normally takes place at Anacostia Park, partly took place at Yates Field House this year because of rain. Despite the change in location, the children were still filled with joy as they played games like Sharks and Minnows and Zombie Tag, along with basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer.
Hosted this year during the week of July 23, the camp was organized by Meredith Njus (M’21), Adam Albitar (M’21) and Brett Will (M’21). Several of the camp counselors were incoming School of Medicine students who haven't even been to orientation yet but who were already embodying Georgetown's mission and values through their service at the event.
Inspired by Georgetown’s Values
For many of the incoming first-years, the event reminded them of the reason they chose Georgetown.
"I'm here because all through undergrad, I did a program very similar to this at the University of Alabama where I worked with kids and mentored them once a week for all four years. So finding that at Georgetown was really important to me and I've really loved getting to know the kids and being a positive role model," said Sarah Schumacher (M'22).
An added benefit of service at the camp is that Schumacher and other incoming first-years get an early introduction to the city and to their future classmates. But the ultimate motivation is the spirit of service and commitment to the community.
"Cura personalis is very central to why I chose Georgetown and I believe that the social determinants of health are so important in the medical field and Georgetown really emphasizes that," said Kathryn Lee (M'22).
Lee explained that growing up, participating in summer camps and sports were such vital experiences for her. She was excited to be able to give that same experience to the children from D.C. General Family Shelter.
An Exciting Week With Some Special Guests
Each day, the camp counselors try to promote a certain sport based on the special guests that participate. In the past, HoyaMed Summer Sports Camp has hosted the Georgetown men's basketball team and D.C. United. This year, the Georgetown football team not only made an appearance, but participated in the activities.
"It feels good to come and help these kids. I can kind of relate to them growing up in a tough environment. Hopefully I can inspire them and help them see a better life," said Jay Tolliver, a junior and a running back on Georgetown's football team.
His teammate, Leon Agee, a senior and a defensive back on Georgetown's football team, agreed. "Being able to be an outlet for and spend time with little kids is awesome and it's a great feeling," he said.
This year the camp also received a special visit from D.C.'s Fire and Emergency Medical Services department. The children were smiling ear-to-ear as they explored a big fire truck and got close-ups of fire and emergency gear.
In the future, camp organizer Adam Albitar hopes to have even more special guests speak to the children.
"Seeing positive role models, people that the kids admire, is great. Anyone that can come out provides a huge advantage for the kids," he said.
Even so, the opportunity to simply be around dedicated and cheerful students, athletes, and other guests who are committed to service has given the children so much joy, explained Ana Alvarez (M’22).
“Over the past year I worked directly with a pediatrician and couldn’t wait to continue working with kids so the opportunity to do sports with them is great,” she said.