Monday, December 13, 2010

Intentionally Bridging Youth Communities

Milbey W. McLaughlin describes the best Community Based Organization as an effective youth organizations having intentional learning environments. The organization develops young people and provides them with high quality activities keeping them involved. The activities are deliberate actions with a strong emphasizes on learning.
On Monday, Project Coach coaches had the privilege of being coached by the Williston Varsity Girls Volleyball Team. For those of you who don’t know about Project Coach and Williston Northampton School; I will give a brief background.
Project Coach coaches are between the ages of 13-18 years old from the North End of Springfield learning to coach youth soccer and basketball coaches. Williston Northampton School is a co-ed college preparatory boarding and day high school in the heart of Pioneer Valley.
We started Monday evening watching video clips of Williston Varsity Volleyball team playing. Then we moved to the gym where the girl’s varsity team split the Project Coach coaches into groups teaching them the skills of bumping, serving, and setting. We ended the session with a couple of competitions (my group destroyed all of the other groups…obviously).
It was cool to see the role reversal of the Project Coach coaches getting coached. After 45 minutes of training, we gathered as a big group and the Project Coach coaches formally met the Williston Girl’s Volleyball team. The Project Coach coaches were able to share their experiences as youth soccer coaches with the Williston Volleyball team. The Williston Volleyball team talked to our coaches about what it was like to be away from home and living at school. They also talked about campus life and rules.
In two hours, two different communities merged and united over a simple game. The night transformed from being a awkward and standoffish to laughs and jokes being told.
I hope Project Coach will have an opportunity to return the favor of going to Williston Girl’s Volleyball teams home turf to teach them how to play soccer or basketball and maybe get a volleyball, basketball, and/or soccer game.

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