Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Denmark Exchange


video
Mass Youth Soccer G Level Training for Project Coach and Denmark Coaches

         For the last week and a half, twenty high school girls and ten adult mentors from the group Ready, Steady, Soccer came to visit Project Coach all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark. The group (similar to Project Coach), teaches teenage girls how to coach soccer for youth in their local soccer clubs. As a new initiative in Denmark, the project hopes to bring more females into the sport and help females stay involved in the soccer clubs as they get older. The ten adult mentors all volunteer to work with the girls and help them improve as coaches and as leaders. After setting up host stays for all of the girls and planning for months, Project Coach was more than excited for their arrival. Unfortunately, they arrived just hours before winter storm Nemo began to blanket us in snow. Due to the storm, some of our Friday and Saturday events were cancelled. As a silver lining, many of the girls got to experience some serious sledding! On Sunday, we still held a Mass Youth G Level Coaching Training for the group from Denmark, Project Coach, and some local Northampton teenagers. As the video above shows, it was a fun, active day spent learning techniques and strategies to coach young kids in soccer. The teens really enjoyed learning about ways to coach and learning about each other.

The Danish Girls in Front of College Hall 

      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. 

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