Robert A. Norr Memorial Scholarship “Sealed the Deal” for Recent Frostburg State Grad

Oct 12, 2017 1:55 PM

Calli Feudale’s career is built on making people who face difficult circumstances live a rewarding life.

Yet, she would not be a 2017 Frostburg State University Recreation and Parks graduate if it weren’t for others giving back.

Feudale, 22, of Frederick, Md., received the Robert A. Norr Memorial Scholarship in 2016, awarded to a FSU recreation and parks major who studies therapeutic recreation and exemplifies the character and spirit of the late FSU student Bob Norr, among other criteria.

“It’s the reason I finished my degree,” said Feudale, who graduated in the summer. “This past year I was at home. All of my classes were online. I couldn’t afford to stay here, so I worked at Glen Elg Country Day School. I received several scholarships from Frostburg but the seal-the-deal one was the Bob Norr scholarship.”

Feudale managed the 2016 I Swim For Bob Event, now called Be Like Bob, which involves a day of fun gymnasium and pool games and serves as the scholarship’s chief fundraiser. Feudale named that experience as a signature moment of being prepared for her post-graduation career.

“It was an incredible experience. A lot of the experience came out of the planning for that event,” Feudale said. “The staffing, promotion, program planning, leadership skills and having to manage volunteers and people my own age – it was definitely a good experience.”

Feudale is now at a paid internship in program services with Disabled Sports USA in Rockville, which may lead to a permanent position. The nonprofit works with all age populations, providing adaptive sports programs, and manages and helps 120 companies support disabled sports programs in 48 states. Feudale will provide staff support for marketing, fundraising and event logistics, among other duties.

The organization partners with insurance broker The Hartford and other partners to present The Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, Colo., in December, at which Feudale will work.

“It’s the premier winter adaptive sports event for people with disabilities, as well as for educators and instructors who want to provide winter sports for people with physical disabilities,” she said.

The event ranges from introducing athletes to skiing, snowboarding and sled hockey to training Paralympic athletes for the Paralympic Games.

Feudale discovered her passion for working with people who have disabilities during high school when she served as a nanny. The family was homeschooling their child, who had a sensory processing disorder, which means that common sounds or other senses caused the child to feel overwhelmed or in pain. She implemented the child’s occupational therapy program while helping with his homework, seeing the child’s talent with visual art and jewelry making.

“I didn’t have too much experience with people with special needs,” she said. “I saw how he took on the world and took on his challenges and how he learned through various methods. It was active learning, and it was so interesting how it worked for him.”

Feudale also put her FSU experience into practice at in other ways at Glen Elg Country Day School, where she has worked since 2016. She started out as a summer camp teacher programming art, music, games and cooking activities for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. That led to teaching swim lessons, leading extended day camps and other duties at the more than 100 camps held for pre-K through 12th-grade students.

“The volunteer placements and the Bob Norr event really laid the groundwork for the skills that I further developed at Glen Elg’s summer day camp program,” Feudale said.

She also worked with an occupational therapist in Frederick, leading group recreational therapy sessions for boys on the autism spectrum, doing social outings, apple picking, fitness and more.

“I love working with people who have disabilities,” she said. “They have such a different outlook on life. They have such a positive outlook despite many of their challenges. It’s very cool to see how they adapt to the world and how they take it on in their own way.”

That spurred her to discover FSU’s recreation and parks major and transfer from Frederick Community College after she earned her associate degree.

She truly is an advocate for people with disabilities, and using recreation as a way to empower.

“They’re usually people who are marginalized because of their disability,” she said. “But when you get to know them and you give them these opportunities – especially sports and horseback riding and creative expression through art – it boosts their self-esteem immensely.”

Feudale looks back at her time at FSU with tremendous gratitude, saying her professors empowered her to be ready to learn even more after graduation.

“It’s the reason I am where I am now,” she said. “It’s the reason I was able to get the job with Glen Elg. It’s the reason I’m with a national company now. It provided me with the skills, abilities, knowledge and confidence to be able to go out and take on whatever challenge comes.”

For more information on supporting the Robert A. Norr Memorial Scholarship or other scholarships at FSU, call the FSU Foundation at 301-687-4068 or visit www.frostburg.edu/foundation/ways-to-give.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.