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Monday, June 2, 2014

Team effort makes largest event in DC SCORES history a rousing success

Brightwood Education Campus shows off their
service-learning board at Jamboree!.
Upon reaching the edge of the expansive grassy area by the middle school co-ed soccer field, one person after another had a version of the same question Saturday afternoon.

Where can I find X school?

Where do I sign in to volunteer?

It wasn't that anything was poorly marked. Simply put, the 19th Annual DC SCORES Jamboree! was so big that if you stood by the middle school soccer fields at one end of Anacostia Park, the blue tents for registration, the DJ, lunch and activity booths seemed a mile away.

Between them were 16 soccer fields, which hosted game after game beginning with the City Cup championships at 8am and not ending until Cardozo defeated Kelly Miller on penalty kicks in the co-ed title game after 3pm.

In all, 178 soccer games were played during seven hours. Think about that for a moment -- 178!! To keep all the teams hydrated, DrinkMore Water made a very generous donation of 70 bottles!

And soccer was just one aspect of the action-packed day. Buoyed by an incredibly energetic and flexible band of 136 volunteers -- including 25 program alumni -- and partners including Revolution Foods, 826 DC, the Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), Penya Barcelonista, 826 DC and Modell's Sporting Goods, we provided 1,500 students representing 47 schools and their families with the most action-packed event in the organization's 20-year history.

One of the service-learning boards each school created
to demonstrate the impact of their project.
The day started with the City Cup title games, which were played as all the other schools trudged across the grassy area toward the music being played by DJ RBI. After two exciting games -- the Burrville girls defeated Seaton and Capital City boys beat Burrville -- all four teams received trophies and medals from Executive Director Amy Nakamoto and special guest Councilmember David Grosso.

Then, on opposite ends of the park, all the elementary and middle schools gathered and shouted out their school names. The full-fledged Jamboree! was underway. A minute later, the green expanse was covered by kids in T-shirts of every color with their school names as they flocked to their first activity.

In between soccer games, elementary school kids had plenty to do at a handful of stations including:
  • Reviewing the colorful and creative boards each school made to celebrate their service-learning project. Late in the afternoon, winners were announced for the best boards, with Marie Reed and Brightwood the elementary school service-learning champions, and Brightwood and KIPP KEY the middle school winners.
  • Learning about and then creating healthy yogurt parfaits with Revolution Foods to fuel themselves for more games.
  • Working together to create fun and silly stories with 826DC by having each member of a team write a line.
  • Practicing their shooting accuracy with Penya Barcelonista during a skills challenge. 
  • Receiving bags filled with books thanks to our generous donors from FAAR and the National Home Library Association, and World Cup sticker books from Modell's. 
  • Doing the hula hoop and dancing to whatever song DJ RBI played next.
  • Getting their faces decorated -- always a favorite! -- by volunteers including energetic groups from Capital One and CliftonLarsonAllen.
  • And, of course, eating a healthy lunch provided by Revolution Foods
Parents received giveaways, too, including tye-dye shirts from FAAR and coupons from Modell's.

Kelly Miller had a great Jamboree! soccer tournament
and showed tremendous sportsmanship throughout. 
Meanwhile, game after game was played at the middle school fields where three tournaments were played. Each team was guaranteed at least three games, and many played more -- walking from one field to the next with no time in between. On a hot day, the kids representing 17 middle schools demonstrated just how physically fit they are and how much they love soccer, and when there were minor injuries Sport and Spine Rehab was on the scene.

The skill level was high, too, as teams played evenly matched games -- penalty-kick shootouts were a theme -- until the Capital City girls and Brightwood boys defeated Lincoln in a pair of close games preceding Cardozo's win over Kelly Miller to close out the day.

The Barnard Elementary School DC SCORES
team with some of their fans.
By then, everyone was exhausted. As kids, their faces decorated in facepaint, boarded their buses, they were ready for a nap. But they didn't just leave with their tired legs.

In addition to the many giveaways they received, each school left Anacostia Park with a team photo that the kids decorated and framed during the day. It served as a reminder that Jamboree! was just the conclusion to the DC SCORES season -- one which is still fresh in the minds of 1,500 youth and their coaches.

"They have fallen in love with the sport of soccer," Barnard Elementary School coach Erin Druelinger said after Jamboree! of her team, "and more importantly, have become role models at our school."


Read all the Tweets from the 19th Annual DC SCORES Jamboree! below in our Storify!

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