Lacrosse festival focuses on mental health, honoring Archer |

Lacrosse festival focuses on mental health, honoring Archer

Updated: August 16, 2019 08:57 PM

Archer Amorosi was shot and killed by Carver County deputies during an apparent mental health crisis last summer. Now, his friends and family are making sure some good comes from the tragic death of the 16-year-old Minnetonka High School student.

"He was the most caring person on and off the field that I knew," said Mason Hurt, a former lacrosse teammate of Archer's. "Wherever he went, he was always a presence. He was always smiling. He was always in a good mood."

Another teammate echoed those comments.

"When I was having a bad day, I could just look at him and I would get a huge smile on my face," said another former teammate, Tommy Gibney.

His former teammates and friends, like Annika Van Nest, are teaming up with parents and Archer's family to organize the "Northern Lights Lacrosse Festival" on Saturday, August 24th in Badger Park, in Shorewood.

Archer Amorosi stories

"He was always the first person to stand up for anybody, and that's probably why it hit the Minnetonka community so hard because no matter if you were on the football team or in one of his classes or saw him in the hallway, you knew him," Van Nest said.

Archer didn't often let on to his friends that he struggled with mental health issues, they suspect because there is a stigma attached to those problems. That's why the lacrosse festival will also feature short mental health talks with players shortly before each game.

"About how they can spot mental health issues in their friends and also in themselves," Gibney said. "And how we can deal with that as a community and how we can deal with that as a friend."

Several businesses in the Minnetonka area are donating goods and services to the event, including two of Archer's favorite places, the Chick-fil-A in Chanhassen and Adele's Frozen Custard in Excelsior.

Van Nest said they expect over 100 lacrosse players to participate from around the metro area, many of whom used to compete with or against Archer. They're also hoping for hundreds of spectators who want to help raise awareness of mental health issues among young people.

"We're using this tragedy that happened last summer and using it as fuel for motivation for change," Van Nest said. "We obviously can't turn tragedy into triumph. We can't undo what was done, but we can move forward and make it better."

Much of the money from the event will go to Archer's Aim, a foundation created in his memory to raise awareness and provide mental health services and scholarships for students diagnosed with mental health problems.

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Tom Hauser

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