Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Project Coach at Camp Cromwell with BCNY!

July 20, 2011

During July 2011, the Project Coach team visited the Camp Cromwell, NJ, summer camp of the Boy’s Club of New York, to implement an intensive one-week PC program for urban youth and elementary school-aged participants.

Over the course of the initial intensive training weekend, youth coaches learned the fundamentals of becoming an effective coach and an inspired role-model as they received instruction in the Project Coach Academy curriculum.

Central to the successful implementation of this curriculum were the 2011-12 cohort of new graduate ‘redshirts’, who showed incredible energy and devotion as they forged long-lasting relationships quickly with their young charges.

The true test of the growth of this impressive cadre of youth coaches came during the week, when they led high-energy, action-packed basketball and soccer sessions for over 130 younger members from BCNY.

Special thanks go to Megan Vandeventer, Director of Program Development at BCNY, and the wonderful team of staff in Martinsville, led by Camp Director Fred Guzman. The week proved to be a tremendous success, and Project Coach looks forward to working with BCNY again in the near future.

Check out the thoughts of new PC "redshirts" below....

Jason Anderson:

The PC training in New Jersey was simply awesome. We not only bonded as a grad school cohort, but forged meaningful relationships with all of our teen coaches. Chris, Tyler, Ish, Joe, Joseph, Gabriel, Big B, Claude, Bishop, Apollo, Ruben, Charles and Gris became my friends, and Tom, Ashely, Cait, Brian, Katie, Taylor and Andy became family. Learning, practicing and witnessing the Project Coach model (and philosophy) in action, all of us were forced to think on our feet and really reflect on what makes a strong, positive role model and leader. Every day Andy encouraged us to keep stepping it up, and every day the group went big. None of us were the same at the end of that week and, honestly, I don't know which was more inspiring: watching the transformation of the NYC teenagers, or that of my fellow Smith students.  After the epiphany of seeing what can happen in seven days, I know we are all excited for an entire school year in Springfield. I can't wait to get started.

Tom Messinger:

I was incredibly impressed with the coaches from BCNY we got the opportunity to work with at Camp Cromwell this weekend. The coaches came in mature beyond their years and already living the core principals of the Project Coach curriculum, yet they still poured everything they had into the training, and improved by leaps and bounds. It was very powerful for me to see that by the second day working with the elementary school kids, all three of the BCNY coaches I was working close with were ready to take over and lead their own teams without my assistance, which is not an easy task whatsoever. They all were willing and eager to step up to the challenge and accept responsibility, and they all succeeded. My only regret is that we will not have an opportunity to continue our work with the BCNY Coaches in the immediate future, but I have no doubt that these young men will be such positive influences in their clubhouses, communities and families.

Brian Quadrozzi:

The past week spent at Project Coach in Martinsville, NJ was eye-opening to say the least. Maybe not so much for me, as I have come from that place and have continually beared witness to the fact that success and the ability to succeed in life both in confidence and ability is not entirely dependent on ones social economic status, but rather on a person's innate ability to recognize that greater opportunities await them - if they want them. The young men from inner city NYC proved this to me beyond a doubt. They all recognized that in order to succeed - both in the program and in life, one must possess a "fire", a burning desire to prove to oneself, and those around you, that simply - you can. You can "change your stars' , you can put yourself on a trajectory that will empower you with a sense of discipline, responsibility, and committment - that will blur the lines between one's academic and personal lives. Hopefully through the sports empowerment programs that we ran all this week - they have realized that.

On a personal note, the young men we were working with really inspired me. They inspired me with their lack of a "woe is me" attitude that seems to permeate people who come from the inner city. No one complained, no one made excuses - and my coach specifically, who I found out had both lost a father and a role model back to back - but you would have never known. These kids were stronger than I ever could have imagined. 

Katie Joyce

The Project Coach training at Camp Cromwell was an incredible success.  The teenage coaches from the Boys Club of New York impressed us all with their maturity, willingness to challenge themselves, and ability to develop such strong coaching skills over the course of only a week.  The Project Coach curriculum brought out the best in the coaches by helping them to work together, to encourage each other, and to critique themselves in order to improve. The experience of helping to train the coaches at Camp Cromwell built my own confidence in my abilities as a mentor for high school students.  Our week together enabled me get to know and to learn from my fellow gradate student.  I am very enthusiastic about the upcoming year where we will work together in Springfield.

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