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JMU Softball at Parade of LightsCourtesy: Photography/JMU Athletics Communications
Softball Participates in Community Events During Holiday Season
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:12/13/2013

HARRISONBURG, Va., Dec. 13, 2013 – The James Madison softball team has embraced the holiday season and has spent the past week participating in several community activities.

The Dukes started by representing JMU at the Parade of Lights festival. The Parade of Lights, put on by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce in Stanardsville, Va. The softball team decorated a truck to use as a float in the parade, including having one of the players dress up as Santa Claus. The Dukes decorated their float with purple lights and passed out candy to children along the parade route all while dressed in festive holiday sweaters.

Senior utility player Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) was charged with writing a team testimonial about the event:

“JMU Softball took on the Stanardsville Christmas ‘Parade of Lights’ this past Saturday night. We didn't know exactly what to expect when first arriving to this community event, but once things got rolling, being a part of the parade was something special for my teammates and I.

We arrived early to the parade location to decorate our float, ‘The Black Pearl’ (otherwise known as sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford's (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) truck). We decorated her truck with JMU-purple lights and loaded everyone up with a plethura of various candy -- Dum-Dums, Laffy Taffy, and other random sweets -- to pass out to the children attending the parade. Our team got festive wearing Christmas sweaters, reindeer antlers, and Santa even made an appearance! 

Walking through this quaint town, handing out candy and wishing everyone a Happy Holidays brought a warm sense of joy to the season. The mob of children and parents that attended the event were in great spirits as well. Many of them were dressed in their festive apparel, totting along their warm beverages to enjoy on the cold night. It was a rewarding to participate in the parade as a team, and I think it was a great way to end our fall semester!”

The softball Dukes also gave back during the holiday season, by sponsoring three senior citizens as part of the “Angel Tree” program set up by Chick-Fil-A. The team pooled its money and used it to shop for gifts for their three sponsored senior citizens. The gifts were then dropped off at the local Chick-fil-A.

Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) and senior utility player Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) were asked to share their experience with the event.

“As a team we wanted to give back to the community for this holiday season. So we decided to give back to several individuals in need. We picked names from an ‘Angel Tree’ but instead of children in need, we decided to help less fortunate senior citizens. Three names were picked off the tree and we collected the items on their wish list. It’s nice to give back to those in need, especially senior citizens who have helped others along their way. It is always a joy to embrace the true meaning of the holiday season, and we thought giving back to the community that we owe so much to, even in this small way, was a good way to do so.”

Finally, the team was part of the Athletic Department’s involvement with the “Open Doors” program. The Open Doors program provides local homeless with warmth, shelter and support. The softball team collected two large boxes of toiletry items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion and mouth wash and dropped them off with the local thermal shelter.

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