Q&A: Connor McLeod, Volunteer and Cal Lacrosse Player

Connor McLeod is a Sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Business Administration in the Haas School of Business. He plays close defense for the University of California Men’s Lacrosse Team. Connor is a Bay Area native and hails from Burlingame, California.

Q: How did you get involved with RTEBN?
I got involved with Rebuilding Together as a sophomore in high school. My alma mater, Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, had several volunteer opportunities with the Peninsula branch of Rebuilding Together. During my time as a Padre, I saw the tremendous opportunity that service could award young men, and the payoff it allowed on a personal level. After helping on several projects on the Peninsula, I grew to really respect the program and people of Rebuilding Together. When our current Cal Lacrosse coach, Brian Ledyard, challenged the team to come up with a way to be good men on and off the field, I thought of Rebuilding Together. After running the concept by our Senior Leaders and receiving their support, I reached out to Rebuilding Together East Bay-North and was excited to find the same level of enthusiasm and passion that I had encountered working for Rebuilding Together on the Peninsula. I knew our team and the RTEBN team would be a perfect fit.

Q: What did your project day look like? (Timeline, group, activities, etc.)
Our project was great. The team drove down to the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) at 9 AM on a Saturday morning to begin weeding, caulking, and painting one of their bicycle storage facilities. We ended up weeding, prepping, paint-scraping, and priming until the early afternoon. Our work session was one of the better moments of team bonding I have seen off the field this year. From watching my teammates learn to caulk and paint, to watching some of our larger players realize how much fun a thicket of weeds and a pick-axe can be, the team was all smiles all day.

Q: What do you think about BORP and the work they do?
I was very happy when I found out that our team would be working with BORP. Our entire team plays with a mentality to “get 1 percent better everyday,” a mentality that arose from our head coach’s constant reminders that we are blessed to be able to play lacrosse. We all share a respect for the game, and were enthusiastic when we found we could make a real impact on an organization that helps people with physical disabilities to lead active lives. Additionally, the team was particularly excited to learn about their veteran outreach program. Several team members have family members that are veterans, and that connection gave the day a personal touch. BORP’s Adaptive cycling and recreation centers are life changing, I am happy that we were able to help them in their mission.

Q: How did volunteering with your teammates affect your experience? (as opposed to volunteering by yourself, or with strangers)
Volunteering with my team was definitely a major bonus. It allowed us to bond in ways we wouldn’t have the opportunity to in the classroom or on the field. Working together ensured that everyone was working hard, was focused on a shared objective, and achieved a specified goal. Essentially, it captured the three targets and touchstones of team sports, applied them to an off-the-field experience, and allowed for the same growth and success rate as an athletic endeavor.

Q: Volunteers like you and your team are the lifeblood of Rebuilding Together. What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering, but hasn’t made the decision yet?
What are you waiting for? Volunteering is one of the best ways to achieve personal growth and to feel accomplished. Not to mention that the work you are doing is making a tangible difference in people’s lives. If you can align a team to do it with you, that’s even better. The opportunities for team building are boundless.

Thanks to Connor, and the California Men’s Lacrosse Team, and all of our excellent volunteers!