View the Jamboree! photo album on Flickr!
Nijah Armstrong witnessed a Jamboree! like she'd never seen before Saturday at Anacostia Park.
Nijah, now a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, last experienced the spring-culminating event as a Kelly Miller student in the mid-2000s. Back then, the Jamboree! was held at Trinity University.
Now, it's gotten so big, only places such as the large expanse of grass at Anacostia Park can contain it.
Nijah was one of dozens of DC SCORES alumni who came by or volunteered at Saturday's event to celebrate the spring season. She witnessed 156 soccer games and nonstop activity -- facepainting, relay races, arts and crafts, the presentation of 44 service-learning posters, DJ RBI spinning music all day, and more.
If you experienced every aspect of the Jamboree!, you covered some serious miles.
After two and a half hours of setup, the day began a little after 8am with the City Cup elementary school championship games. The boys game featured Aiton and Capital City; the girls featured Seaton and Moten.
Upon the completion of the games, emcee extraordinaire Charity Blackwell brought all the schools together for a cheer -- it got loud! -- before everyone dispersed.
Soon, a grassy area the size of at least four football fields was covered with kids in their DC SCORES uniforms. Let the action begin.
Fourteen -- yes, 14! -- soccer games took place at a time. There were eight elementary games ongoing while middle school boys, girls and co-ed tournament games were played nonstop, one right after the other. This wouldn't have been possible if not for the tireless volunteer referees who oversaw dozens of games throughout the day.
Volunteers from some tremendous DC SCORES partners -- Clark Construction, AmeriHealth, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Accenture, Pyxera Global, Edmund Burke School, DC Bocce and others -- did everything from facepainting ("Messi" is always a popular request) to running relay races, to dancing with the kids (there's always plenty to learn there!) to helping serve delicious and healthy Revolution Foods lunches!
Before their next game, kids headed to the Penya Barcelonista shooting skills net where they worked on their kicking accuracy with our amazing longtime partners from the fan club. They then visited D.C. United mascot Talon for some last-minute advice before getting loose with dancing, entertaining "Topspin," the mascot of the Washington Kastles tennis team!
Of course, it was hot and it was humid, so this marathon of activity wouldn't have been possible without water. Lots and lots of water. This was made possible by an extremely generous donation of 70 water jugs from DrinkMore Water.
And when there was the infrequent injury or cramp, Sport and Spine Rehab was on hand to take care of those in need.
Soccer was the favorite activity of the day, but it didn't overwhelm the other aspects of the spring season that were celebrated. A casual look at the service-learning posters demonstrated the incredible impact DC SCORES teams made in their communities this spring.
H.D. Cooke and Barnard won the elementary school service-learning contest. H.D. Cooke's students ran a successful anti-bullying campaign in their school and on Saturday explained to staff members and volunteers, step by step, how exactly they did it. Barnard closely followed the four-part service-learning process -- discovery, research, implementation and reflection -- to orchestrate a highly successful trash cleanup of their school.
But really, growth was on display all day Saturday. From the opening whistle of the City Cup games to the final penalty kick of the middle school games around 2:45pm, kids demonstrated just how much they've improved on the soccer field and as teammates and leaders during the DC SCORES year.
And they -- and family members, volunteers and partners -- had loads of fun, too.
Thank you to everyone who made the 20th DC SCORES Jamboree! a raging success!