ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – Bruce Campbell has a solution for Christmas break boredom.
For the last 12 Christmases Campbell entertained high school students and their families with the Allegany County Counselors’ Classic basketball tournament.
Approximately 20 university employees filed into the University Club to hear Campbell's Souper Monday presentation on the local games that bring the community together.
Campbell, the director of Graduate and International Admissions at St. Bonaventure University, is the main coordinator for the annual basketball tournament that raises scholarship money for high school students in Allegany County.
Faculty and staff listened as Campbell clicked through his PowerPoint slides, explaining how he organized the Counselors’ Classic in 2005 to initially raise money for students. In his 12-year experience with the tournament he realized the local high school basketball team face-offs have brought a positive sense of community to Allegany County.
High schools including Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Genesee Valley and Whitesville high schools participate in the event hosted by Houghton College.
“There is a lot of town identity wrapped up in these central schools.We designed it to involve the community as much as possible,” Campbell said, stressing the importance of including small businesses, organizations and sponsors in the Christmas-time tournament.
University faculty and staff members munched on their lunches while Campbell described how he organizes such an event: making sure to invite a local pizza parlor to serve food in the gym, searching for volunteers to run ticket sales and recruiting college interns to assist in creating music-savvy playlists—only few among several tasks to check off his list.
Exemplifying the importance of community to the tournament are Campbell’s confirmed sponsors, who donated $3,500 to the scholarship fund in 2016.
Overall, the tournament awards seven to 10 students with scholarships yearly while also providing something positive for students and families to take part in over Christmas break from school.
“Students can get out of the house and buy some pizza…we’d rather them be watching a game than be at home,” Campbell said.
“Next year when you’re looking for something to do around Christmas or New Years, come out to the event and grab some pizza,” Campbell said to his coworkers, laughing.
Paula Scraba, an associate professor at St. Bonaventure, noticed the common theme of community tying into the basketball tournament.
“Community is what will keep this tournament going,” Scraba said, thanking Campbell for his presentation and whisking away the tray that held her Souper Monday lunch.