Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Veteran "Blueshirt"

The school year has already wound down, summer is in full swing, Fourth of July is just around the corner, and after a hard year of work in Project Coach the teens that staff our program are...working 8 hours a day to ensure that our organization continues to grow and thrive.

Although it sounds distinctly untypical, PC youth coaches this week launched an exciting new summer initiative with the HASBRO Summer Learning Initiative and the YMCA of Greater Springfield assisting their seasonal staff in providing fun sports programming for over 250 campers enrolled at Camp Weber in West Springfield. Alongside Head Supervisor and Springfield Public Schools Phys Ed teacher Kym Kendall, a team of 12 experienced PC coaches are devising and implementing fun games for kids through August, and wasted no time making a big impact. Even after day two, campers of all ages were on first name terms with their favorite coaches, and the partnership promises to be a great success.

Nevertheless, not even a day of blazing heat and "Jedi Dodgeball" could deter veteran coaches Loeb Rosario, Ismael Lopez, and Jon Cotto, who cleaned up quickly after camp and headed up to Smith College to play an integral part in the orientation process for our new cohort of incoming graduate student "redshirts" - seven Master's of Arts in Teaching candidates awarded full tuition-waivers for their work as mentors, coaches, and educators in Project Coach. After a series of team-building activities, an article discussion around the coaches' experience in the program and what it is about coaching that "lights their fires", Loeb, Ish, and Jon stole the show with their presentation on what it takes to be a "perfect redshirt". Focusing on the key elements of building relationships, mentoring youth coaches, and providing academic support, the three vets did a great job guiding the new redshirts on what it takes to make the grade as a new member of the PC team.

We're excited to have their continued input and expertise as we move into a summer packed with orientation sessions designed to prepare our new cohort with the hands-on and theoretical knowledge crucial to their success in the program. Next stop...the Boy's Club of New York's summer camp at Martinsville, New Jersey. Stay posted for updates on the second year of another great Project Coach collaboration!!

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