Lakers Rake City Lawns

Lakers Rake City Lawns

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- On Sunday, Nov. 6, Oswego State student-athletes teamed up to rake the lawns of Oswego's senior citizens for the 12th-consecutive year.  The annual event started as part of a SUNYAC-wide community service effort, and in Oswego it continues as the one project that brings every Laker team together to provide service on the same day.

"All year long, almost every weekend and then some, our 24 teams are involved in some sort of community service project, but our day of leaf-raking is our one, combined-effort event where all the teams, most of the coaches, and even administrators all show up to get the job done," explained community service coordinator Dan Witmer.

This year, some 52 lawns were cleared throughout the city limits.  An estimated 407 Laker student-athletes participated, along with 11 head coaches and eight assistants.  Even hockey players and swimmers and divers who had games and meets the previous day were there on Sunday to help.

Raby's Ace Home Center donated 48 rakes and 180 leaf bags for the event, which helped get the job done quickly. 

"Our first teams were out by 1 [p.m.], and by 3:30 [p.m.] everyone was back in," summarized women's hockey coach and Student-Athlete Advisory Council leader Diane Dillon, who coordinates the planning, receives senior citizens' requests, assigns teams to specific lawns, and communicates with teams and coaches as lawns get finished.  "If one particular yard needs more manpower, teams that finish early are asked to swing by and help until the yard is done," she explained.

Snacks and drinks are sometimes offered by the Port City's seniors, but the bigger reward is a thank you to the community for its support. 

"The connection between the college student-athletes and Oswego's senior citizens is so valuable, and the athletes make the most of the opportunity to give back to this community," Witmer said. "The athletes also realize the power of teamwork, and that, working together, they can get big jobs done quickly."