On the soccer field, Big Sky senior forward Whitney Morrison is a star.
But as the leader of the Big Sky Special Olympics Soccer Camp, Whitney makes sure that it is the athletes who are shining bright.
“Every single time we put on this camp, it just makes me feel good,” Morrison. “It’s nice working with the athletes like playing with the athletes, coaching them. I want to carry through with this and I think it’s a great tradition that we have here at Big Sky. It really teaches us that we aren’t separate from the special needs kids. We’re one team.”
“To be able to step out and say hey I want to help these Special Olympic athletes feel special for a day and know that we’re here to support them is really awesome,” Big Sky assistant varsity coach Meagan Auch said. “I couldn’t think of a better senior project, especially for Whitney.”
And the campers have a blast. They get a delicious lunch, learn how to dribble and pass, and most importantly, learn how to have fun.
The idea for leading the camp came from her older sister Mackenzie. But her passion for kindness? Well, that comes from her biggest inspiration: her mother Kelly—who earlier this year was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer.
“It was very hard at first because I didn’t really know what to think about it,” Morrison said. “I was like ‘wow, how can someone this strong be faced with something like this?’ And I guess that’s kind of been a point of realization where I shouldn’t be feeling sorry for myself about that. I should be using it as an opportunity to grow as a person.”
And Whitney, who also stars on the Big Sky track team in the spring, definitely has. She’s been coming to the camp ever since she was a freshman. Whitney’s sister Quincy is also a big part of the camp. She says there’s no place her sister would rather be.
“Oh she loves that day, she loves being around those kids because they make her laugh and they make her smile,” Quincy said. “She just makes you feel like you’re a part of something instead of [not including] you. She’s good at including people and making them feel like they’re a part of something big.”
After all, giving back runs in the family. And that’s why Whitney Morrison is this week’s Mattress Firm Student of the Week.