Halifax, NS - After a busy year working on his Bachelor of Science and playing for a national championship CBU's Hugh Parslow of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia has spent his off-season giving back to the kids of his hometown. Hugh has been volunteering in nearby Cole Harbour at the Mitch's Soccer 2.0 soccer camp. The camp is being run as a non-profit and parents are asked to just 'pay what you can'. Parents with lower incomes can just pay a small amount, and families with higher incomes can pay full price or even throw in a little bit extra. Along with teaching kids how to play soccer, the camp is also concentrating on mental health and healthy eating.
"It feels great to be able to give back to my local community. A lot of kids look up to me, and when they hear that I'm from where they're from, a national champion with CBU, and that I've played at a semi-professional level down in the US, I think it opens their eyes to just some of what they might be able to achieve," said Hugh.
With mental health being a huge issue with today's youth the coaches make sure to make the camp fun for everyone. Kids that come in and seem shy or showing signs of anxiety will get a little extra care to feel apart of the team. While doing skill tests or individual challenges staff members get all the kids to chant their names and cheer them on as they perform. Prizes are given out to children that show the most positivity and are best at cheering on their teammates. Come the end of the camp Hugh has noticed great improvements in the kids not only in their soccer skills, but in their confidence as well. The camp also has an anti-bullying focus, and educates the kids on healthy eating by teaching them "how to eat like a pro".
"It was great working alongside coaches like Joelle D'entremont (Who was captain for her D1 school in Jacksonville) and Tomasz Skublak (who plays for the HFX Wanderers). Both are phenomenal players and offered different insights into the game for the kids that I may not have been able to provide. The kids also loved hearing about their stories of how they got where they got to in their soccer careers. You can really tell the kids look up to them, they often ask for their autographs," said Hugh.
With the summer wrapping up Hugh is looking ahead to his fifth season with the CBU men's soccer team. "Having played 4 years already with CBU I know what's required for our program to have success, and this year I think we are more prepared than ever to challenge for a national title." Captains Stuart Heath and Daniel Pritchard, as well as veteran Maximillian Raab, will not be returning this season, but Hugh believes the new recruits coming in will help fill in the gaps and the improvements made by the returning players will keep them as one of the top teams in the country.
contributed by Chatham Fricker, CBU Department of Athletics