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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Learning Part I: Participants learn the power of team

This summer,  intern Roland Walker is visiting DC SCORES’ four summer camps and talking to participants and counselors about teamwork -- one of the program’s key values -- and what it means to them. View pictures from the camps on our Flickr page and on Facebook.

Written by Roland Walker

“The strength of the team is each individual member,” explained former NBA coach and 11-time title holder Phil Jackson. “The strength of each member is the team.” Winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson knows a thing or two about forming powerhouse teams to achieve a common goal.

One of the goals of DC SCORES’ four summer camps is to teach participants the values of how to work as a team, become better leaders, and create and maintain healthy relationships.

Every strong team has a chant, a song or some type of indication that they are fired up to participate in whatever activity they’re involved in – together.

On the first day of summer camp at Marie Reed Elementary School, children were assigned to different teams where they had to create a cheer.
"Turn on the radio, what do you hear?"
"Extreme cheetahs - give it a cheer!"
"Better step back"
(Clap clap) "Extreme”
(Clap clap) "Cheetahs"
(Clap clap) "Rawr”!
Although most kids were familiar with DC SCORES, some of the youth at Marie Reed and Kelly Miller Middle School’s soccer camp were meeting each other for the first time.  
Leaving your community, and all its comforts, can be intimidating. For one of our young participants, last Monday was her first day with DC SCORES. During lunch she was hesitant to talk to anybody. Everything was new -- new scenery, new faces and new challenges. For an adult, this can be scary as well, so imagine how she felt that afternoon.

Fortunately, as the day progressed, we started to notice a change in the child. A couple of hours after she walked through the door, she was as energetic and talkative as if she had been a part of the camp before.

During the first week of Marie Reed camp, the children got the opportunity to customize their own bags and learn a handful of names through various interactive games.

The beauty of a team is in making every member feel wanted and comfortable in order to bring out talents that he or she doesn’t know he or she possesses. Every team has leaders. And at DC SCORES’ summer camps, many of them are alumni working as counselors. These are the kids who know the program well because they played soccer and wrote poetry with DC SCORES throughout elementary and middle school.

Program Director Cory Chimka came to camp last Wednesday and established expectations for the alumni counselors.

“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, it’s unacceptable,” Chimka said. He also talked to the teenagers about the importance of positive reinforcement, personal initiative, and responsibility.

It was a reality-check moment for the older kids. The teenage coaches and counselors realized just how much the younger kids look up to them and that they need to lead by example at all times.

The hope is that after six weeks of summer camp, participants have learned – among other things -- that as individuals they are strong, but as a team they are unstoppable.


Leader of the week: Sebastian D.  

Sebastian has been a part of DC SCORES for several years, and is serving as a Summer Youth Employment Program counselor this summer. Last week he did an outstanding job helping mediate conflicts between some of the children and making one lucky boy feel on top of the world for his ninth birthday on Wednesday. We are proud to shine light on Sebastian as he went above and beyond last week.

Q: What does it mean to be a leader?
A:  “You have to go hard, 100 percent. Have the passion for what you’re doing and do it right. I let them (teammates) know that I’m with them, that we never have to give up. Always keep going.”


Rising star of the week: Edwin G.

Edwin’s first week ever with DC SCORES was great. He showed great respect toward his elders and got along wonderfully with his peers. He loves soccer and says the secret to scoring is to zig zag between the other players and trick the goalie. We are proud to shine light on Edwin as he showed excellent maturity last week.

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