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Murphy, Spider Field Hockey Lend Helping Hand

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Members of the Richmond field hockey program travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to work with underprivileged children this summer.

Head coach Gina Lucido, assistant coach Jodi Murphy and 2010 graduate Jacki Raithel went to Uganda and senior Michelle Weaver visited South Africa for an internship.

Murphy, who is leaving the Richmond field hockey program after two years as a player and three as an assistant coach, was making her second trip to Uganda. In her own words, she talks about the trip:

I began Pathfinder Hockey about three years ago. Since our inception I have traveled to Uganda twice and have a great passion for this part of the world. I was fortunate enough to return to Uganda this past May with Head Coach Gina Lucido, and recent UR grad and goalkeeper, Jacki Raithel. The mission of Pathfinder Hockey is to seek out cities that are in great need and use field hockey as a means to bring children out of the slums and streets and into an organized sport setting where they can learn life-skills, teamwork and hear a message of Hope. The cornerstone for Pathfinder Hockey comes from the Scripture Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the PATH that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We live in a world where children are being pulled down several different paths; many of which lead to destruction. Our hope is get these children on a narrow path that will lead to a fruitful life in more ways than one. We use field hockey as the starting point.

This summer we partnered with a local non-profit organization in Uganda called Youth Sport Uganda. YSU is located in the capital city of Kampala. During our time working with YSU we set up camps and clinics for over 200 kids, a coaching course for local coaches and a leadership seminar for high school-aged students. We held each of these events at the Lugogo Sports Complex. In addition to the clinics and courses, we were able to collect gear from other universities and high school programs in the US and send the equipment prior to our trip and share in the excitement of the children receiving the gifts upon our arrival.

I firmly believe that sports can transcend all cultural and language barriers and really bring people together. Our time working with Youth Sport Uganda was incredibly refreshing and gave me an even greater desire to continue pushing Pathfinder Hockey to its potential. As my time at Richmond concludes, I am looking forward to continuing my partnership with University of Richmond in finding new paths for the sport of field hockey to develop beyond the comforts of our own soil…Jodi

Lucido is thankful for Murphy’s efforts and the program will miss her.

“Jodi Murphy leaves the Spider hockey family with a lasting impression on program history and our future success,” Lucido said. “In her time as a player and coach Jodi invested significantly in the teammates and players that made up the unique program culture. Her passion for reaching new history has pushed Richmond back in the national spotlight and refined the spiders into excellent competitors. Jodi’s gift of service and perseverance were far reaching and life changing. Her work with Youth Sport Uganda over the past three years has been a shining example of her esteemed character and the future work of positive change she brings to the world. Our entire Richmond family feels the bittersweet emotion of losing such a treasured coach, alum, and friend. I am forever grateful to Jodi for walking alongside me in grace and service during my growth as Richmond’s head coach.”

Michelle Weaver also had a great experience on her trip to Africa:

“When I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa I was awestruck by the beauty of the landscape. Within minutes I was fascinated by the pride that is evident among all of the people, it is pervasive and so neat. You don’t have to dig too deep to experience the scope of poverty and vast number of underprivileged people. When I was working with the children it was the human element, a simple good job or hug that holds true, not material possessions. This experience has taught me so much about myself and the culture and lifestyle of South Africa. It was life altering. I hope to return someday soon!”

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