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Courtesy: Photography/JMU Athletics Communications
Softball Attends Welcome Back Carnival at Clymore Elementary
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:09/11/2013

HARRISONBURG, Va.—Athletes from James Madison visited Clymore Elementary School in Augusta County to assist with the Welcome Back Carnival on Sept. 6.

In attendance were the Dukes softball, swimming and diving and women’s basketball teams. They were split up into smaller groups to help run the various carnival activities, which included cornhole, a dunk tank, moonbounces, face painting and challenge events in the gymnasium.

“The community does so much for us and gives us a chance to swim so we like to give back to them,” senior swimmer Mary Gargula said. “It’s so much fun. We love the support we get and look forward to supporting them in return.”

The carnival is thrown by Clymore Elementary School and serves to welcome students to the new school year. It gives students the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones while still spending time with their families. Parents also had the opportunity to talk with their childrens’ teachers and other staff.

Events such as this allow JMU athletes to better connect with the community on a more personal level.

“Taking part in these [events] means that we are more than just basketball,” explained sophomore basketball player Angela Mickens. “It lets everyone know we are a part of the community and do care about it.”


For each of their community service activities, the softball coaches have one member of the team compose a testimonial to describe the experience. Here are thoughts from sophomore Hannah Hayes:


On Friday, September 6th, the JMU Softball team traveled to Clymore Elementary School in Fort Defiance, Virginia, to volunteer at their school welcome back carnival. Upon arrival at the school, we found our assigned job duties which consisted of running the inflatable obstacle course, moon bounce, cornhole game, tug-of-war, soccer, and ball toss.  After about thirty minutes, we were flooded with kids at every station.

I started out working the ball toss, and soon migrated to soccer because they needed an additional player to help out.  After a few games of soccer, the little ones were running circles around me!  I couldn’t keep up!  After two hours of playing with the kids and interacting with their parents, the competiveness of our team came out in a game of tug of war.   

I really enjoyed interacting with the children.  After a long week of classes at JMU, it was great having a break to play games with youngsters and help out in the community.  I always hope that when I am volunteering I can inspire kids to accomplish their dreams just like I did.


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