Western New England became a member of The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) CHAMPS Life Skills Program on September 1, 2004.
The College is among approximately 90 (out of 700) Division III athletics programs that will sponsor this program that challenges athlete's minds for personal success while focusing on values and commitments. Only 14 Division III schools were accepted into the program for the upcoming school year.
The five commitment areas of CHAMPS Life Skills are Academic Excellence, Athletic Excellence, Personal Development, Career Development and Commitment to Service.
Since Mike Theulen became athletics director in 1998, the department has made a renewed commitment to enhancing the quality of the student athlete experience. CHAMPS Life Skills will create the framework as the department moves forward with this mission.
The CHAMPS Life Skills Program will support efforts of every student athlete toward intellectual development and graduation, encourage the development of leadership skills, promote respect for diversity, encourage a commitment to service throughout the community, and prepare student athletes for life after college.
CHAMPS Life Skills also will address many of the initiatives of the College’s strategic plan.
Men and women's tennis coach Jennifer Kolins serves as the CHAMPS Life Skills Coordinator. She has attended numerous orientation session hosted by the NCAA in Long Beach, Calif., and Providence, R.I.
Kolins networked with Divisions I, II and III institutions, and attended a series of workshops intended to prepare them to implement CHAMPS Life Skills on our campus. A key component to this training was identifying the extensive resources available through the NCAA.
It became clear to Kolins that implementing a successful program is possible because of the exceptional resources already available at the school.
The CHAMPS Life Skills program is beginning to take shape due to the strong cooperation between all departments on campus.
Western New England president Dr. Anthony S. Caprio has endorsed CHAMPS Life Skills and the entire athletic staff is committed and excited to implement the program during the inaugural kick off in the fall of 2004.
At present student athletes are in the process of completing a needs assessment questionnaire that will be used to set specific goals and objectives for the 2004-2005 academic year.
Initial programs will include a speaker series, resume workshops, CHAMPS newsletter, and the development of a resource library.
"We are extremely proud to have been chosen as an NCAA CHAMPS Life Skills institution," said Theulen. "The five commitment areas within the program directly reflect the ideals set forth by our athletic department mission statement. Our entire coaching staff is motivated and energized by this opportunity.
"The CHAMPS Life Skills program will allow our department to play a vital role not only in the lives of our student-athletes, but also have a positive impact on the institution's student body," he noted.
CHAMPS/Life Skills Program Mission Statement
The NCAA is committed to a comprehensive program of life skills that provides educational experience and services in order to develop well-balanced lifestyles for student-athletes; to encourage growth in decision-making, planning and fulfillment of career and life goals; and to enhance the quality of the student-athlete experience within the university setting.