Grad Crossed the Finish Line to Graduation and Career Thanks to Norr Scholarship

Dec 14, 2017 12:00 PM

By Charles Schelle

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

Yet, she would not be a 2017 Frostburg State University recreation and parks management 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 management major who studies therapeutic recreation and exemplifies the character and spirit of the late FSU student Bob Norr.

“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 Glenelg Country 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 has accepted a position to work as the associate director of summer programs for Glenelg Country School in Howard County, where she first put the skills she learned from managing the Bob Norr event.

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

She started out as a summer camp teacher programming art, music, games and cooking activities for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in 2016. 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.

While finishing up her degree at FSU, she put her employment at Glenelg on hold to take an incredible opportunity to work with a national sports organization, Disabled Sports USA.

Feudale wrapped up a paid internship this fall in program services with the Rockville-based nonprofit in December. Disabled Sports USA works with all age populations, providing adaptive sports programs, and manages and helps 120 companies support disabled sports programs in 48 states. Feudale provided staff support for marketing, fundraising and event logistics, among other duties.

The organization partners with insurance broker The Hartford and other sponsors to present The Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, Colo., in December, where she was on hand helping athletes.

“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.”

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 management 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 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