LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The Clemson Rugby team has been improving its performance over the past few seasons, equating to multiple Atlantic Coast Rugby League Championships and its recent ascendance to a Mid-South Conference affiliate. Still, with all of the growth taking shape on the pitch, the Tigers are most proud of the improvements they’ve made in their community.
Clemson takes its training and preparation for rugby very seriously, but it also has immense pride in its role in benefitting the community that surrounds it. Each season, the Tigers form an allegiance with one specific charitable organization for the team’s biggest volunteer push of the year, all the while finding other ways to support less fortunate people around them.
Clemson captain and center Dylan Goulding plays a big role in organizing the team’s philanthropic events.
“We really try to create a bond with the community and that, in return, makes the bond between us as teammates that much stronger,” the Entrepreneurial Management majoring senior said.
Last year the Tigers teamed up with Homes of Hope by cleaning and landscaping empty homes prior to the move-in dates of lower income families. This past October, several Clemson players spent an entire day preparing, grilling and delivering thousands of chickens for the Collins Children’s Homes 33rd annual Chicken Cook-off.
The team is already in the planning stages for two significant charitable events for the spring semester. From Feb. 18-19, Clemson will be hosting the Scrum for the Cure tournament that will raise funds for Camp Kemo – a week-long summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. So far, Clemson, Furman University, University of Georgia, the U.S. Naval Academy and Wheeling Jesuit University have all signed up for two days of competition. Each team’s participation dues will go directly to Camp Kemo.
“It’s going to be competitive and it’s a good group of teams,” Goulding noted. “But it’s mainly to raise money and awareness for cancer.”
The Tigers won’t be close to concluding their philanthropic events for the spring semester at the conclusion of Scrum for the Cure. A partnership with Fostering Great Ideas well keep the team plenty busy during the season with several fundraisers scheduled for the purpose of raising awareness and empathy for foster children. The partnership with Fostering Great Ideas will have players activating two drives on the Clemson campus. During Bear Hugs, the team will solicit donations of teddy bears from fellow students. The Carry On drive will ask for donations of lightly used luggage for children. These collected items will create an inventory for foster children to make their inevitable move from home-to-home a little less difficult.
“The average foster child lives between 13 to 14 homes growing up and are often forced to shove all of their belongings in a trash bag, and move to another home in the middle of the night,” explained Goulding. “With successful campus drives, we can give these kids something to put their belongings into and a teddy bear to give to the children when they move homes to ease some of the burden.”
The last piece to Clemson’s partnership with Fostering Great Ideas, Moms Matter, is less about fundraising and more about making a face-to-face impact in the community. During Moms Matter, Clemson will be promoting positive male influences to women who have been separated by they children and are victims of abuse.
“By going out and spending time with these mothers, including them in team dinners and other ways, we hope to have a great bonding experience between the team and the community, and it’s a way for us to show that there are plenty of men out there that care for them and want them to succeed,” said Goulding.
The several events throughout the season forces these already busy student-athletes to be even more diligent with their time. Still, the team has seen dividends paid off through the acknowledgement of their charitable efforts from people in the community and on campus.
“It’s much nicer to play in a community where we are well respected and people see that we’re doing great things for the community, because we care and want them to care, too,” the Clemson captain added.
The team also feels that it has benefitted on the pitch from the tremendous work it’s doing away from the rugby field.
“These events and getting involved in the community brings the team much closer together and makes us work harder for one another,” Goulding supported. “We always seem to play better after coming off one of these community events.”
You can learn more about Camp Kemo and donate to the cause by accessing this link. Likewise, visit Foster Great Ideas’ website to learn more about the organization and find out how you can get involved.