Much like a tutor whose ultimate goal is their own obsolescence, I have mixed feelings about saying goodbye. I will miss the relationships that have developed over the year, and the rewarding high of seeing the high school students interact with their teams. At the same time, it makes me happy to see how far all of these kids have come--both coaches and players--and know that they will only continue to grow as positive forces in their schools and communities.
My year as a Project Coach Fellow taught me the importance of mentors in education. The program is based on the importance of relationships. All participants act as role models for each other in formal and informal ways. The teenage coaches mentor the elementary school kids on their teams, we as red shirts mentor the coaches, and Sam, Andy, and Don guide us with their advice. More informally, we mentor each other on the van rides back and forth from Springfield. The more experienced coaches mentor new coaches before practice and through their example. Even the kids give each other pointers during games. Project Coach fosters this culture of support and guidance.