On Monday, the girls went to UMASS to see the large university and meet players and coaches from the college team. Afterwards, they were able to practice with an FC-16 team (some of whom were girls from the host families). On Tuesday they shadowed at Northampton High School and then ran their own soccer clinic for local girls at Smith College. The clinic was exciting and engaging with stations for fun soccer games (red light, green light) and an obstacle course. Wednesday they spent time in Springfield at one of the high schools many of the Project Coach students attend (Springfield Renaissance). They also visited the Basketball Hall of Fame and then went to Gerena Elementary School to participate in a Project Coach sports session. The PC coaches led them through our volleyball and fitness games with one station for basketball (many of the girls really wanted to play this). At the end we all played a fun basketball game and then ate dinner together. The Danish girls spent Thursday learning about Smith College, the reasons behind it being an all girls school, and shadowing Smith students. At night, the Project Coach teens put on a Valentine's Day celebration (with food, desserts, presentations, and dancing) for the whole group from Denmark, the host families, and Project Coach staff. It was an extremely exciting and engaging celebration and the PC teens did a lot of work to make it a success. After the Denmark group spent a day in NYC they were already on their way to Boston to fly home.
Many of our Project Coach teens have been in contact with the girls since they left. They have been sharing ideas about coaching, being a teenager, and the possibility of visiting Denmark. While they were here, Project Coach staff presented to the adult mentors on our program, the success we have had, and the way we continue to run a strong youth development organization. The leaders of Ready, Steady, Soccer were eager to share information about our program with their clubs' board members and presidents. We are working into the possibility of bringing our coaches to Denmark next year and are continuing to exchange ideas about youth development and coaching.