A trip to New York City in mid-July was beyond any “dad moment” for Manchester University head baseball coach Rick Espeset and Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Brian Cashdollar.
The duo stepped in as advisors for one of the Church of the Brethren’s 2018 summer work camp events due to the retirement of the North Manchester church’s youth pastor. “Everyone else that joined us [from State College, Penn./Roanoke, Va./Elizabethtown, Penn.) had female advisors, so they were looking for two men to be involved,” Espeset noted. “It was truly an experience not to forget with so many wonderful moments that we were part of.”
Cashdollar and Espeset, both among the top mentors in their collegiate coaching fields, got another kind of mentoring experience as the students worked in a senior center, Salvation Army post and around a church located in the heart of Brooklyn.
“We were there, honestly, to make sure [the students] were safe and had some examples of how to work with and treat others [at the work sites],” Cashdollar said. “There wasn’t as much of the mentoring sense of what we do in collegiate coaching, as, in this instance, the opportunity and work was the mentor tool.”
“The entire trip was way more than just a dad going along with a child,” Espeset added. “I rarely saw Ethan, as he was doing his own thing with his friends as were each of the students [on the trip].”
While going a day early before the work camp began to see such sights as Coney Island, riding a subway and attending a Mets game was unique, Espeset and Cashdollar both pointed at more poignant highlights in their trip rearview mirror.
“Just being able to be with Kambree was special for me,” Cashdollar said. “Seeing the evidence of need and a different type of life also [struck me]. As an example, when I got back home, I took a run around town and didn’t see many people. In Brooklyn, everywhere you turn you see someone. It was just fun to hear the students’ first-hand accounts of their experiences which is something I hope each of them takes away and remembers about [the trip].”
“The worksite settings portrayed the importance [of the trip mission],” Espeset said. “There were barriers we had to figure out at each turn, but the students and our advisor group met each with plenty of excitement and eagerness which I think the people that work there daily were thankful for. The entire work camp set up [in Brooklyn] was a real tribute to the passion of Pastor John who set up the different stations and leads the church we were at.
“All in all, I was glad to be part of it,” he added. “I’d go again, but it’d be good to see others be involved. It’s a neat opportunity.”
Moments remembered to mentor others moving forward … something both men and, as they pointed out, their colleagues will gain from personally and professionally.