Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Project Coach Fellows - Week One Recap

During the first week of their Project Coach experience, new Fellows were immersed in a variety of different activities designed to orientate them to the program, its goals, and its values. As a part of this, they also had the opportunity to spend some time with six veteran PC youth coaches, as well as learn some valuable teambuilding and ice-breaking activities from Coach Mike Dean.

Their thoughts on an action-packed first week can be found below. Full biographical information on the 2011-12 cohort can be found here.

Jason Anderson:

Last Thursday was a big one for us PC Fellows. The morning's team-building games were fantastic. I probably learned more about my cohort in two hours than I had in the previous two days. Mike did a great job of involving everyone and keeping things (and us) moving, often literally. Our afternoon CPR-First Aid training was great, as well. Matt made the exercises engaging, boosting our (by that point somewhat fatigued) spirits with humor and positive energy. My favorite part of the day, though, was simply meeting--and getting to hang out with--the Blue Shirts from Springfield. Ish, Loeb, Julian, Hassan, Kiana and Jon were really fun to work alongside, and it made me all the more excited for our time together this upcoming school year. 

Caitlin Scudder:

During the two-hour morning session, Mike taught us probably 20 different ice-breaker/introductory games. These games not only got our blood pumping and our mind's firing, a great way to begin the long day we had ahead of us, but it showed us first-hand the effectiveness of such games to really get a group feeling comfortable with each other. Within the first fifteen minutes, we all knew each other's names, hometowns, favorite movie, and a collection of other obscure facts and idiosyncrasies. With Mike directing a leading us, providing clear and confident directions, we gelled instantly, jumping right into the activities and every 'problem' or 'challenge' he placed before us.

With such a productive and engaging morning, emphasizing team-building and activity-learning, we could not wait to meet the coaches. When they all arrived, and we were gathered in a circle, looking quite similar to the smaller circle the fellows began with in the morning, it was time for practice to be put into action. Time to introduce ourselves and get to know one another! I was caught totally off-guard, though, when Brian tossed the ball to me, and asked me to lead the first activity. Talk about being put on the spot! After a milli-second of feeling nervous and uncertain, that feeling quickly disappeared as I looked around the room at all the bright and eager faces looking back at me, and at each other. They just wanted to dive in!  And dive in we did. All that morning practice of activity leading had led up to this moment-- time to introduce myself, speak clearly and brightly, name the game, and begin! Needless to say, the introductions flowed easily, producing lots of laughs, smiles and ebullient joy all around. It was an amazing first day. I can't wait for the year to begin!

Taylor Stevens:

My experiences so far in both Project Coach and the MAT program have been really great. I think that doing the CPR class with six of the blue shirts was a really good way to begin our introductions with some of the most involved Project Coach coaches. They all seemed excited to be there, and I hope that they thought that we were going to be fun to work with this year. It was cool to all be on the same level as far as experience with First Aid and CPR, especially since they are going to be much more experienced in the coaching aspect of the program. I am excited to put what we have learned into practice in New Jersey, though I have to admit that I am nervous about being thrown out there to put what we have learned to the test. Last week made me PUMPED about getting to know each of the students, working together with them, and learning a lot from them in many areas.

Katie Joyce:

Our first day meeting as Project Coach Fellows and introducing ourselves to some of the coaches motivated me to learn as much as I can from the many interesting people I will be surrounded by this year.  The coaches struck me as a very mature and attentive group of teenagers who paid attention while keeping a good sense of humor during our long CPR training.  Their presence made the afternoon much more enjoyable and I am excited to get to know them better in the fall.
I also learned more about our class of fellows during the icebreakers in the morning and realized that we bring many experiences and strong personality traits to the program.  I am honored to have the opportunity to work with such a passionate group of people and am looking forward to forming friendships with each of them.

Ashley Niles:

The one word that comes to my mind when I think about PC is, passion. It is clear to me that everyone involved with PC is extremely dedicated to the young people that the program serves. It has become more and more obvious that this program is not primarily about creating better athletes and coaches, but more about creating a better life for the young people involved. Over the past week I have learned that my most important job in this program is to develop strong relationships with the youth coaches. Each day I learn more about my role as a "red shirt" and each day I get more and more excited about beginning to build relationships with the PC participants. 

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