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Monday, June 3, 2013

Over 1,500 people enjoy action-packed day at 18th DC SCORES Jamboree! celebration

The 18th Annual DC SCORES Jamboree! was epitomized by its moments.

Perhaps none better defined the June 1 celebration of the spring season than the one in the aftermath of the City Cup championship soccer games that kicked off the event. 

Before the Burrville Elementary School girls team received the trophy for winning a seventh consecutive title, a girl clad in her red DC SCORES uniform stood up and -- in front of DC Councilmembers Tommy Wells and David Grosso -- said that all participants from the four teams that played in the games were winners. She then walked over to the seated Marie Reed Elementary girls and the Wheatley Education Campus boys, giving out high fives.

Thus began a day that involved winning and trophies, but left all participants smiling -- and tired -- after several hours of soccer games, facepainting and much more.

The Jamboree! was, by far, the largest-scale DC SCORES event in the organization's 19-year history. Over 1,450 youth representing 45 schools joined hundreds of parents, dozens of volunteers, and a handful of awesome program partners at Anacostia Park. 

To give an idea of just how large the event was, 128 elementary and middle school soccer games were played on 14 fields. And that was just the soccer.

There were also:
  • Volunteers from DC SCORES partner Sephora running a professional facepainting booth throughout the day.
  • Longtime partner Penya Barcelonista running a soccer shooting station where kids from each school split into three teams and tested out their accuracy. The prize for those most on-target? Awesome Penya scarves!
  • Hundreds DC SCORES parents watching their kids play soccer, then filling out surveys about the program and receiving water bottles and bags from Modell's Sporting Goods in return. Many parents don't get to see their children in action during the season, making Saturday a great opportunity to finally watch them proudly wear their school uniforms.
  • The service-learning display and contest. Saturday marked the culmination of a season not just defined by soccer, but by every DC SCORES school creating and implementing a project to better their school or surrounding community. Each school brought a poster board visually documenting their project, and staff members voted these the top three projects:

    • Kelly Miller Middle School won Most Creative Project for visiting a retirement home and teaching the elderly how to use technology (blog).
    • Bancroft Elementary School won Project with the Greatest Impact for raising over $1,000 for homeless animals. 
    • Seaton Elementary School won Best Board Design for not only creating a beautiful array of pictures from their school garden, but bringing fresh radishes, chard and other vegetables to display!
  • Members from the U.S. Soccer Athlete Council coming out on the 100th anniversary of soccer in the United States to run soccer relay races and drills with kids. Former U.S. Women's National Team members including Angela Hucles, Heather Mitts and others had a great time teaching DC SCORES students skills and playing games with them.
  • Revolution Foods, the event's lunch provider, teaming up with DC Hunger Solutions to lead a station where students created nutritious snacks -- such as a yogurt parfait with peaches and berries -- to keep them feeling good during the long, hot day of soccer.
  • DC SCORES partner The Century Council giving away to both kids and parents cool sunglasses, T-shirts, and bilingual literature about the dangers of underage drinking and drinking while driving. 
  • And, of course, DJ RBI spinning tunes to help keep everyone energized on a blazing-hot day under the sun, and Sport and Spine Rehab expert trainers available for anyone who needed medical attention.
Did I mention the 128 soccer games? 

They began with the City Cup championship games at 8:15 a.m. The Burrville Eagles girls team -- a DC SCORES dynasty -- listened to the constant urgings of "PASS! PASS!" from their coach Daryl Forte and used teamwork to defeat Reed in the girls game. In the boys game, Reed -- DC SCORES' flagship school where the program began in 1994 -- defeated first-time championship game participant Wheatley.

All four teams received trophies from Executive Director Amy Nakamoto, and special guests Wells and Grosso hung medals around the students' necks. 

The championship games complete, the Jamboree! kicked off for everyone -- with seven elementary school games and seven middle schools games played simultaneously for over 5 hours. Teams were guaranteed three games, and some played as many as seven. The games were all refereed by DC SCORES volunteers, who could be spotted in their neon yellow T-shirts all over the park grounds throughout the entire event.

After losing two of their first three games, the MacFarland boys -- playing as a DC SCORES team for the final time -- rallied to win two consecutive games. Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson, which is also closing at the end of the school year, had a magical four-game streak that ended just short of the boys championship, won for a third straight time by Paul Public Charter School.

On the middle school girls side, Capital City Public Charter School participants thought their day was over after a loss and began walking to the parking lot. But it wasn't. The tournament's double-elimination format gave them a chance to keep playing, and they did just that all the way to the championship to cap off the school's first year as a DC SCORES program participant. 

By 3pm, the music died down, the last games were whistled complete, the final trophies were rewarded, and kids from 45 schools boarded buses content and exhausted from a day that perfectly encapsulated everything the DC SCORES spring season is about and included many of the people, partners and volunteers who make it all possible.

Read a chronological recap of the day on Twitter by visiting the #Jamboree13 hashtag

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