Last week we learned about the launch of Casey Powell’s World Lacrosse Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to growing the game of lacrosse by connecting and empowering passionate people around the globe.
The Powell name and lacrosse have been synonymous since the early to mid 1990’s. Casey has competed at the highest levels of the game throughout his entire life. From Syracuse University and beyond, Casey has maintained his status as one of the best lacrosse players of all time throughout his (still running) 16 year professional career.
Casey plans to kickoff the CPWLF with the World Lacrosse Beach Festival on the Siesta Key sands before taking his mission to all corners of the planet. Florida seems like a no-brainer for the home base of the CPWLF, it’s where he lives, coaches high school ball and competes with the MLL’s Launch. With all of that on his plate, I just had to know why and how Powell plans to use his lacrosse stardom to help the game grow to new heights!
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MD: Let’s start off big! Casey, when growing the game internationally, what are some key focus areas of the CPWLF?
CP: Well, great question… I’d say the primary focus is on fun. When taking something, anything into unfamiliar territory, if you want people to embrace it I’d place the premium on smiles.
If people are having fun they are going to want to do it more and more.
I noticed on the website, the listed advisers for the CPWLF are impressive. Can you talk a little bit about the team you have in place to help you grow the game?
Thank you for complimenting the group. It is humbling to get the support of bunch of folks like that.
It starts at the top with Heather (Chase O’Neill), our executive director. She is tireless in her commitment to the World Lacrosse Foundation and her energy, enthusiasm, and accomplishments keep the rest of us on our toes.
Working with Heather and myself are a small but impactful group each chosen to bring certain skill sets to the table in addition to their obvious overall successes and commitment to the growth of the sport of lacrosse. I’ve hand selected the board of advisers because of the impact they’ve had on me as a person and I’m flattered they’ve offered to help me with my mission.
Aside from that, in the coming weeks, we will be announcing our list of CPWLF Ambassadors who will share our message with the world.
You announced that it starts with the Beach Festival, but where do you go from there?
The World Lacrosse Beach Festival this September is our first real coming out party. It will serve as our primary event fundraiser for this year and hopefully bring a lot of lacrosse players together to celebrate the things that draw us all to the sport in the first place – speed, stick skills, teamwork and downright fun.
We will play Speed Lacrosse for the tournament; a fast 3v3 take on the game. Smaller fields and goals, no pads or hitting, no goalies. The purpose is to enhance skills used in field and box lacrosse while offering a new way to have fun playing the game.
Beyond the beach, we have a number of things going on. Without revealing too much yet, I’ll say there will be some plane rides taking the game to new places.
We have an eye on the inclusion of lacrosse in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and to accomplish that, we need to see the sport take root in more countries on more continents around the world.
What is Run for the World and Student Stick and how can people start to get involved?
Run for the World is a suggestion to our supporters looking for ways to help raise funds for CPWLF. A supporter or group is encouraged to host their own Run for the World, a 2.2 mile fun run – with or without a lacrosse stick in hand – where all or a portion of the participants entry fees are donated to us.
We work with supporters so they know more about the needs and costs associated producing an event like this so they can cover costs, make their donation, and feel amazing about what they have done as they join the Foundation’s mission. Once we’ve collected the donations we give back 50% of the proceeds to the team or organization that put on the Run for the World event.
We held our first one in Austin, Texas recently and it was a great success.
The Student Sticks program is a more direct way for someone to test the waters of our sport in their school. It involves one of our World Lacrosse Ambassadors bringing a whole lot of sticks, balls, and goodies to a school interested in introducing their students to the game.
We set up shop in gym class and host mini clinics for the day. In addition to teaching fundamentals and running some fun drills, we talk about the history of the game and the importance of academics in any player’s career; two hugely important off-field subjects in lacrosse.
Information on both programs and more is available on our website, www.worldlacrosse.org.
So far, so good! What do you hope to accomplish in the first year of the CPWLF?
I’d like to see us established globally as an important resource for people looking to establish and nurture our sport in whatever area they aspire. We have already been contacted by so many incredible men and women who have begun growing the game in nontraditional locations and I am totally inspired by all of them.
Another short-term goal is to create a place for all these amazing folks to support and learn from each other.
What would say are some of the easier things anyone can do to help grow the game?
Share. Support. Inspire. And above all be inclusive.
Lacrosse players are historically eager to share their sport. The term I love is athletic philanthropy. Lax players have historically been willing to take the time to talk to the next generation, to teach the skills and values needed in a sport founded on community.
When it comes to growing the game, what challenge would you propose to any reader that really wants to put their money where their mouth is?
Well, growing the game can happen in a variety of ways but it starts with growing the game in yourself. CPWLF is my dream. It is my way of respecting the sport that has given me so much both professionally and personally.
I’d ask your readers what their lacrosse dreams are and how do they want to achieve them? Make a plan, stick to it but be willing to adjust when needed, and most of all to NOT GIVE UP. Put your passion for the sport out there and allow it to inspire others.
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Who wants to help the G.O.A.T. in his mission to blanket the world in lacrosse? I know that I was sold, so in the comment below let me know what you’d like to see out of the Casey Powell World Lacrosse Foundation in the coming years!