Over the past 10 months, members of the 2008-09 Buccaneers Student Advisory Board have frequently volunteered their time to give back to the Bay area community. On Thursday night, the group of 40 local high school students came together for one final event, but this time they were the benefactors of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' volunteer efforts.
General Manager Mark Dominik, cornerback Elbert Mack, linebacker Jermaine Phillips and tackle Julius Wilson surprised the '08-09 Board members at Pin Chasers bowling alley for a night of knocking down pins and slices of pizza. The evening was a thank you from the organization to the dedicated students for their hard work and leadership in the community.
"It's really a great asset that these young people bring to our community," said Dominik. "They learn the importance of the fact that we're all in this together, that Tampa Bay's one large community, and that we're here to serve other people and to help when others need help. They've learned that at a young age. These young adults have stood up in their schools and learned how to be leaders among their peers, and they've also added an important element of community service."
The Student Advisory Board, which is annually comprised of 40 sophomores, juniors and seniors from local high schools, has become an integral part of the team's outreach efforts since it was first formed by the Buccaneers' forward-thinking community relations department a decade ago. The council was created in an effort to bring together intelligent, energetic and motivated students to perform community service projects, create Buccaneer spirit in local schools and develop leadership skills in preparation for continuing education.
Laughter and camaraderie filled the bowling alley on Thursday night, leaving little doubt that the Board members had appreciated for their experiences from the past year.
"It's been an unbelievable experience, all the opportunities that have been presented to me," said Andrew Scavelli, a junior from Palm Harbor University High School. "All the people that you get to meet, it's just been such a great experience for me."
Those opportunities have included such community outreach activities as sorting and distributing food at Metropolitan Ministries, visiting John Knox Village retirement community, cleaning up Ben T. Davis Beach and renovating houses through Rebuilding Together.
Scavelli's volunteer hours have extended beyond service projects, however. The second-term member has assisted the Buccaneers' community relations staff on a weekly basis at team headquarters. The rising senior received special recognition from Dominik for his efforts with the team over the past two years and was presented with an autographed football, an instant keepsake for a big Buc fan.
"I was just so shocked and it was so unexpected," explained Scavelli. "We have so many great students here and they all do such great community work and are so involved in the community, it was just such an honor."
First formed during the NFL's offseason in 1999, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Student Advisory Board has been aiding the Bay area community and spreading Buccaneer spirit for 10 years. Along with participating in service projects, SAB members also attend Buccaneer home games either as team representatives or enthusiastic fans. At each game, half of the council members work as customer service representatives in the East and West Club Lounges of Raymond James Stadium while the rest of the members enjoy the opportunity to relax and be fans for the day.
"Kids are going through that stage in their lives where some of them are making the transition to college, some of them are going to be seniors in high school next year, and it's a big time for them," said Mack. "Whether or not they know it, this is the best time of their lives right now; they're in the moment right now. You don't want to look back on it and be mad that you didn't enjoy it or take advantage of it while you had it."
Though the '08-09 term has come to an end, SAB activities for 2010 are just getting started. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently looking for members for their 2009-2010 Student Advisory Board. Beginning this year, applications may only be submitted online; to read more about the Board and to submit an application, click here.
Applications must be submitted by Saturday, June 13. All qualified candidates will then be interviewed at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa from June 22-25, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Interviews will last approximately 15 minutes and are set up on a first-come, first-served basis. As part of the online process, applicants will be asked to submit an essay of 1,500 words or less that describes the positive qualities he or she possesses and the experiences he or she has had that would enhance the Student Advisory Board. For more information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Student Advisory Board, call 813-870-2700 ext. 2274.