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All NACDA Members
Announcing a New NACDA Social Awareness Program
NACDA's Big Brothers Big Sisters Campus Pals Program
(Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.)

Vince Dooley:

Welcome back to the second day of the NACDA Convention. I hope you all enjoyed the sessions, the luncheon and the Exhibit Hall yesterday. To kickoff today's sessions, I would like to introduce Miechelle Willis, the associate athletics director at Ohio state University. Miechelle is a member of NACDA's Executive Committee and chair of the NACDA Campus Pals Committee.

Miechelle Willis:

Thank you Vince. Lynn Swann dazzled us for nine years in the National Football League helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowl Championships. He was named to the All-Rookie Team in 1974, the All-Pro Team in 1975, MVP of the Super Bowl in 1976 and in 1981, he was selected as the NFL Man of The Year. In 1976, while playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he began his broadcasting career as a commentator for ABC Sports and has worked on such events as the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympic Games in 1988, the International Diving Championships, NCAA College and Monday Night Football, the 1997 Pigskin Classic and the ABC Wide World of Sports.

Though he has achieved much success on the field and in the booth, Lynn's commitment to today's youth is one of his greatest contributions. For more than 17 years, he has been actively involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the oldest mentoring program in the United States. During that time, he has served as its national spokesperson, a board member and as the organization's President from 1993 to 1995. For nearly two decades, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been a big part of Lynn's life.

I am honored to introduce him to you today to introduce Campus Pals, a joint program between NACDA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a dear friend of mine, Lynn Swann.

Lynn Swann:

Thank you. Well, this is nice. I get to talk to all of the athletics directors and you have to listen to me. All college athletes would love to be in this position. When I think about my experience in college, I graduated from the University of Southern California, it's filled with great memories of playing football. We were fortunate enough to get to a couple of Rose Bowls and have a national championship football team while I was there, but you spend four years on the campus and there are so many other things that go on.

Young men and women are growing and experiencing things, maturing, developing. Part of that college life and part of that experience for athletics departments is to help those young people continue to grow, not just be better performers. We all know that as coaches and athletics directors, we have more mature young people in our program if we have smarter students that will be better performers. Beyond that, they are going to be long-term supporters of that program because if we help them, they look back on that program as something that was very important to them and helped them continue to grow and be successful.

When I had a summer job at USC, I was an extra. I had bit parts in lots of television shows and movies. Once summer, I had a girlfriend who was taking summer classes at USC. We were doing one of these television movies called "Banacek." It was a football background. I was pretending to be a football player. I got paid extra for that dangerous work. I went to see my girlfriend. We hadn't been going out for the last couple of weeks and things were a little bit strained. She was always spending time with her cousin who was in from out of town. I took a break from the movie set, went over to the campus and started talking to her. She finally told me the truth. It wasn't her cousin. She was dating another guy.

She broke up with me on the steps of the library on campus. I felt so bad. My little heart was broken and I was hurting. I went back to the movie set and one of the people working on the set was a technical advisor named Marv. Marv was a defensive line coach at USC and happened to be the man who recruited me to USC. I was walking around and feeling really bad. She dumped me and I really liked her. How could she do that to me?

Marv noticed that I wasn't my lively outgoing self. He came to me and said, "Swannie, what seems to be the problem?" He was a hard, gruff guy. I told him how she dumped me. He put his arms around me. When I was a freshman, running against Toby Smith and all of those guys and I was pretending to be Bobby Moore or Ahmad Rashad, and they were beating me up and throwing me to the ground. There were scouts in the stand and these guys were showing off in front of them. My nose was bleeding, my lip was busted, I was laying on the ground and said, "I can't take anymore of this." This was the same coach who walked over, looked at me and said, "If you don't get up and keep running plays, you'll never play here." I got up and thought he was a guy with no heart. He just forced me to do everything. Marv put his arms around my shoulders and looked at me and said, AYou know what, Lynn? Look up to the sky. The sky was gray. You know the sun is up there. It's a little cloudy right now, but the sun is shinning. You don't see it and you don't feel it. When you wake up tomorrow, the sun is still going to be there. Maybe those clouds will be gone and it'll be a blue-sky day. You're going to make sure that you wake up tomorrow and you live for that blue-sky day. Things are a little bad right now, but every day that sun is going to rise. You're going to have to get up and make a day out of it."

It changed my perspective for the whole day. Suddenly, I realized that's right. It will be a new day tomorrow. I'll get over this. I'll be fine. That might seem simple and trite, but young people need to have someone who's going to get them through the big moments and the small moments. They need a guiding hand that will let them know and reassure them that the hard times and heartaches are going to be okay if they give themselves a chance and work through it. They need to see an example of what they can do and what they can be, what the possibilities are.

Don't let them work it out on their own. Marv was there for me. I've always had people, whether it's been a coach, my parents, a counselor in school, who made me take a scholarship to a private all-boys high school, who have always helped me in giving me that guidance. They've been my mentors.

I know the importance of having someone to guide you. I don't think there's anyone in this room that hasn't achieved any amount of success without some one or two people helping you along the way, mentoring you for a long period of time or a short period of time. We all understand that mentoring is a feel-good kind of program. I've worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters for more than 17 years. Everyone thought of it as a warm and fuzzy program, because you're spending time with a young boy or young girl and it makes everyone feel good.

It's absolutely more than that. We undertook a study several years ago called a public-private venture study. We attempted to quantify the value of a mentoring relationship with a young boy or girl, not just to say it felt good and it was a nice day spent with a child, but what results came about from this program. In a one-year program mentoring relationship, we found that 47 percent of the kids were less likely to ever do drugs; 27 percent were less likely to ever try alcohol before the age of 21; 52 percent of the kids were less likely ever to skip school; 32 percent were less likely ever to skip a class; and 33 percent were less likely ever to be involved in violent behavior. Those are big numbers for a program that lasted one year.

When we're out recruiting young men and women to be in our sports programs, you look into the background of some of these kids and you're amazed at kids who were in trouble. I met one young man who was playing for a friend who had been shot in an accident. There is not a single school I've covered in the last two years that didn't have at least two kids on a football team who had seen a friend die from violent behavior, at least two kids on every football team.

These kids are coming to campus and the only reason they made it to the campus was because they have an ability or a talent in sports. We all know that the numbers are not good for those kids to go on and play professional sports. There has to be another avenue for those kids to go. They need someone to guide them. These young kids in college today could have that kind of effect on a young kid who is trying to make a decision about what direction his life will go in. Whether he'll be involved in a gang in some kind of violence, whether he's going to be a good student or not, to get the skills to go forward.

A college student can make the difference in that young person's life by introducing him to that college campus, by taking on that responsibility of another person. We all know that because of marriage and relationships, the more responsibilities we have that we take seriously, the better off we are. We respond to that. It makes us do things we didn't do before. It makes us work a little harder to make sure we are responsible and we reach our goals for those people we care about.

On college campuses, if the students and student-athletes are involved in a mentoring program, they are going to learn as much about themselves and they're going to grow and be more responsible and they will pass it on to these young kids.

When the President had the Summit last year, Colin Powell came forward and established five goals for a young kid and this program is going to reach all five of those goals. It's going to give them a safe place to go when they come to the college campus. It's going to give them that mentoring relationship and a positive role model. It's going to help give them a marketable skill. It's going to teach them about how to take care of them so they can continue to grow and be productive people in this country. It's going to build their self-esteem and it's going to make your program much stronger.

That's why Campus Pals is an outstanding program and why it's going to work. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been in the mentoring business for more than 90 years. We're the number one mentoring organization in the country. Every match we have established is backed up by a professional social worker that knows how to make that relationship work. We are giving you a turnkey program with professionals that will enhance everything you do with your student-athletes and other students on your campus.

When the students on your campus get involved in this program and they begin to mature and grown when they leave that campus, whether they play in professional sports, stay involved in sports to any degree or go on to another professional career, because you helped them grow as people, they're going to look back and say, this is an important place to me. The university, the campus and the people here are important to me. They are concerned about me as an individual and my growth and how well I perform and how well I succeed in my personal life. You're going to gain supporters of people who want to come back to the program.

We spend way too much time in the media looking at the negatives. Every time an athlete does something wrong or something goes wrong on campus with a fraternity, drinking too much or a student-athlete getting into trouble, we're right on top of it. Folks, I know there are far more productive people on every campus than there are negative. We need to put those people forward so the rest of the world can see them. We need to put those people forward and teach them how to be role models. We need to put them forward so they can understand what the pressures and responsibilities are going to be on them as they become adults. If they are so fortunate to have a career in the public light, professional sports, the kind of demands that will be on them to give back to their community.

We want to help the young people in college understand what volunteerism is what it's all about. We want to teach them how to give back to the community in a way that's comfortable for them. If they do it and they find what's important to them, they will find what their passion is and continue to grow with it.

Establishing a Campus Pals Program is going to do that. It's going to give them those skills and professionals will work with them, teach them to grown and enhance their lives overall.

I'm looking forward to this program succeeding. I think it's an outstanding collaboration between Big Brothers Big Sisters and NACDA in which we combine our skills and assets. We're not redundant. You've got young men and women in your program who are looking for something to do. We've got some people who have the assets and skills to teach them and to transfer those abilities. When they learn how to give and take on that responsibility, they're also going to learn how to take the skills and assets they have on the field and transfer them over to important areas. We always talk about athletes having the ability to learn leadership and teamwork on the field, how to cooperate with other people. I will tell you I've seen far more athletes after they leave that environment not know how to take those skills and transfer them over into another business.

Mentoring relationships helps them to do that. It pulls those skills out and forces them to take those leadership skills and teamwork skills and use them with a young person. They will also use those team skills and leadership skills in working with the other college student. It's going to be two-on-one situation. Two athletes, two college students working with one Little from the waiting list of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Part of our goal for 2000 is to double the number of mentoring relationships we have in our organization. We want to establish 200,000 mentors across our system. We have more than 1,000 agencies across the U.S. now that are working extremely hard. There are more than 100,000 matched relationships now.

We think we have some very attainable goals in Campus Pals. We want to start out by the first of the year by making sure that we have 100 schools involved. By the end of the third year, we want to have 500 campuses involved, 10,000 Littles on our waiting list matched, which means 20,000 mentors from the college campus. This is a mere 40 students per school. Tell me you don't know 40 students in your programs right now who wouldn't make great mentors, who wouldn't help a young kid grow into something positive, prevent him or her from falling into the pits that we have in our society in every city, whether it's a large city or a small city. It's absolutely necessary.

I think this program is going to be outstanding. We have the desire to make it work and the talent to make it work. Already, we have a number of schools who have signed up for the program. I have my list here. I'd like for you to join me in celebrating the first participating campuses in the Campus Pals Program, representing Campus Pals are the NACDA scholarship recipients and the Fort Myers Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency. As they come down this center aisle, we also want to recognize five campuses who have already signed up. They are the University of Miami, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Texas Wesleyan University and Wake Forest University. Let's give these people a big hand.

Folks, I think you can see it's a small beginning. We are honored that those five schools have stepped up. Corporate Marketing Associates, based in Dallas, will be here to answer any questions you have about this program. What we have right now are the seeds that will grow into a strong program. The results will be phenomenal. You're going to be pleased with the results, you're going to feel good about it and we're going to see the growth of our young people continue in a very positive way.

Thank you very much.

Miechelle Willis:

I'd like to thank the Collier County Big Brothers Big Sisters for providing us with the Little brothers and sisters here and the scholar athletes for coming in to assist us, but I'd also like to thank you, Lynn. As a token of our appreciation for speaking at the NACDA Convention and kicking off our Campus Pals, here's a little something. There is a Campus Pals fact sheet and registration form that has been placed on each of the seats. If your institution is interested in bringing this mentoring program to your campus, please complete the form and drop it off at the Campus Pals booth located outside this room. Campus Pals representatives will be stationed at the booth today until 4:00 p.m. Please stop by with any questions or to discuss the program.

Thank you for attending this session. We'll have a short break at which time the Exhibit Hall will be open. We will resume at 9:30 a.m. Thank you.