A recipient of the SunTrust Connecting Communities Award, Athletic Conections takes place twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. During this event, Athletic Connections aspires to help the youth of Pembroke and Robeson County understand the connection between academics and athletics, demonstrating how both are essential to a successful and positive life. During this event, the youth participants are invited to UNCP’s campus, where they learn from and are mentored by current UNCP student-athletes and coaches. The project aims to build an understanding of the importance and connection between academics and athletics, and how both of these factors affect their lives.
The youth participants participate in a day-long series of physical and critical thinking activities designed to build and enhance the skills they need to succeed both in the classroom and in athletics. Throughout the day, youth participants write short journal entries relating to thought-provoking topics that help them reflect on who they are and how they plan to accomplish their dreams and aspirations. The UNCP student-athletes guide the youth as they write and reflect, answering any questions they have and underscoring the life-changing connections existing between athletics and academics. At event’s end, participants, their parents, site leaders, and their student-athlete partners come together to attend a UNCP athletics event free of charge. Thanks to the Literacy Commons, all supplies, food, and drink are provided.