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SAAC Retreat Gives Student-Athletes a Lesson on Leadership

Natalie West
Director of Communications


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BOSTON, MA- This past weekend marked the 3rd annual GNAC SAAC Retreat held in Boston, MA. Every year, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference holds a unique Student-Athlete Advisory Committee event focused on developing skills to help student-athletes succeed after collegiate sports.

The highly-anticipated retreat was held at the Doubletree Suites in Boston, Massachusetts from April 2-3. This year the GNAC presented a Student Athlete program focused on “Leadership After Sports” continuing with the theme from last year of “Life After Sports”.  The SAAC Retreat is also a great networking opportunity for student-athletes to discuss their school events, initiatives and community projects as well as a time to develop friendships amongst the different GNAC school representatives.

On Saturday, the student-athletes were able to tour the home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park. They were able to see the Red Sox Hall of Fame, sit on the Green Monster, and learn the historical facts and most memorable plays of the ballpark. After the tour, the student-athletes saw their first-ever professional men’s lacrosse game at the TD Banknorth Garden of the Boston Blazers against the Rochester Knighthawks.

A major highlight of the GNAC SAAC Retreat was the guest speech given by Mr. Dan Doyle. Mr. Doyle is the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for International Sport and the Chief Executive Officer of the World Youth Peace Summit.  Some of the greatest initiatives that have originated from the Institute have been the World-Scholar Athlete Games, National Sportsmanship Day and the World Youth Peace Summit. Additionally, Mr. Doyle is the author of the acclaimed novel, “Are You Watching Adolph Rupp?” and the Encyclopedia of Sports Parenting.

Mr. Doyle spoke on numerous topics of leadership including the traits of great leaders, what is entailed in being a leader, and critical thinking exercises of self-analysis to further develop one’s leadership abilities. The skills the student-athletes learned can be carried back to their future sport seasons as well as in their transformation into successful careers.

The weekend was also an opportunity for student-athletes to come together and decide the future GNAC SAAC Committee for the 2011-2012 school year.

Kathryne Olsen was named GNAC SAAC President. Olsen is a junior on the women’s volleyball team, majoring in Secondary Education and History at Emmanuel College.

James Wenz was named GNAC SAAC Vice President. Wenz is a junior on the men’s basketball team, majoring in Sports Management at Mount Ida College.

Kyle Botos was named GNAC SAAC Treasurer. Botos is a junior on the men’s hockey team, majoring in Accounting at Johnson & Wales University.

Adam Bolotin was named GNAC SAAC Secretary. Bolotin is a sophomore on the men’s hockey team, majoring in Criminal Justice at Johnson & Wales University.

Overall, the goal of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference’s SAAC Retreat with a focus on “Leadership After Sports” proved to be a grand success.  With several attendees leaving with a new found understanding of leadership, the student-athletes believe it was an extremely successful event and look to carry the skills learned from Mr. Doyle back to their campuses.

Students were represented from several GNAC schools including, Pedro Suncar (Albertus), Katelyn White (Albertus), Phil Shore (Emerson), Kathryne Olsen (Emmanuel), Megan Murray (Emmanuel), Adam Bolotin (JWU), Kyle Botos (JWU), Michelle Alessi (Mount Ida), James Wenz (Mount Ida), Zach Blodgett (Norwich), Megan Gingras (Norwich), Mike Polley (Rivier), Caroline Zak (Rivier), Megan McDevitt (St. Joe’s Maine), Sarah Bartell (St. Joe’s Maine), Terese Cerins (St. Joseph) and Mary Hyde (St. Joseph).