Rugby Illinois supports coaches in their development of Illinois youth rugby. Parents also play a crucial role through their commitment and support.
Boys high school rugby is growing stronger every season! We welcome new clubs and players every season.
Every year is exciting in the Girls high school division. We are adding new teams and many new players every year. Girls high school rugby is developing in Illinois!
The Chillicothe Rugby Football Club (CRFC) announced recently that it will be dedicating its 6th annual Rugby for Research charity fundraising event on May 14 to supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). AFSP’s mission is to “save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide” and do this by funding research, and providing a wide variety awareness education, programs, and resources, funded primarily through Walk Out of the Darkness fundraising walks in communities around the country every fall. The Chicago-based Illinois chapter supports communities across the state.
Founded in 2008, the Chillicothe rugby club held its first Rugby for Research event in 2011 to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in response to the tragic news that the sister of one of the Chillicothe Barbarian boys high school rugby players had died while in a diabetic coma. The initial idea was to support a different cause every year, but the organization embraced JDRF and continued the association for 5 years, raising over $15,000 for research into curing Type 1 diabetes.
Everything changed on April 22, 2015. It was a Wednesday evening, and the Chillicothe Cailíní girls rugby team had a rare mid-week home match against the girls from Plainfield. Later that evening, the Chillicothe rugby family was shocked to learn that one of the Cailini girls had taken her own life at home that very night. Alexis Encinas was 16 years old. It was devastating to the family, the rugby club members, the students and staff at IVC High School, and the entire community.
Everyone came together, and the kids in the Chillicothe rugby club, the students and staff at IVC High School, and people throughout the community shared the family’s grief and offered support and encouragement to the family and to each other. A year later, the school dedicated the week of April 18-22 to suicide awareness, and the rugby club announced on April 22 that it would be dedicating the annual Rugby for Research fundraiser to supporting AFSP with a memorial fund in the memory of Alexis.
The Chillicothe Rugby Football Club’s mission is “to educate youth in the sport of rugby, encourage good sportsmanship, and promote the overall betterment of the social, moral, and physical development of the young men and women in the community.” Rugby for Research has become an integral part of the way that CRFC fulfills its mission.
This year’s event will feature matches between high school boys and girls rugby teams from Chillicothe, Peoria/Pekin, Woodford County, Bloomington/Normal , and Sycamore as well as between middle school rugby teams from Aurora/Oswego and Naperville.
Online donations may also be made directly to the Alexis Encinas Memorial Fund.