Posted by: Mindy on Sat, Mar 2, 2019
Hillsborough Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from Troops 60056, 60278 & 60750 have partnered together to start a service project to mentor new players entering the Hillsborough Jr. Raiders Girls Lacrosse League. Guided by Girl Scout Leaders Kristine Gibson & Tara Romano, as well as lacrosse coaches Samantha Hand, Chris Gibson, Paul Romano, Aldo Russo and Mike Thompson, the girls are also collaborating with two more lacrosse players, Lily H. and Hallie H. These nine girls felt that it was time that they give back to the program that has provided them not only with their very first lacrosse training, but has also taught them what it is to be part of an organized sports team, incorporating sportsmanship philosophies as well as team bonding strategies.
Sienna R. comments, “It was really nice when I was young and starting out. The coaches helped me, and right now they are in high school and college. I really want the younger generation getting the same experience as when I was younger to develop their skills.” Her sister, Sydney R., adds, “It’s good for the whole community because these girls who we are teaching can teach other girls these skills, and this might encourage others to join the program, too.”
The Jr. Raiders took on a record number of new players this year, and this group of fourth, fifth, and sixth grade Girl Scouts wanted to make sure their new teammates are prepared for when the season begins. These young leaders have worked together to come up with training plans, which they are now instituting as Trainers-in-Training during the lacrosse program’s new pre-season New Player Training.
This new program has proven to be a huge success. In its 4th week, the girls and their coaches are now training a final total of 37 new players in grades 3-8 twice weekly. Additionally, they will be teaching the players in the Little Laxers (grades K-2) program on Sundays starting in April. The coaches needed help to wrangle and control this large group of new players, and these nine girls stepped up to the task, using their Girl Scout experience to help them.
These Trainers-in-Training are teaching the newbies the fundamentals of lacrosse stick handling with both safety and fun in mind. “Our main focus during the preseason training is the fundamentals, like how to catch, pass, cradle, get ground balls—everything you need to know before you start playing on the field,” says Alexa G. Her teammate and Girl Scout sister Sara T. agrees, adding, “I also try to make up games to keep it fun and make sure that I keep my words encouraging.”
The program has been well-received by those involved, increasing the ratio of experienced players to new players and providing a “buddy system” for entering players. One of these new players, fourth grader Jessica M. explains, “Being taught by students your own age is helpful because they know what you’re going through as a new player and can teach you in a way that you understand better.”
While the town’s new lacrosse players are learning the do’s and don’ts of the game, their dedicated Trainers-in-Training are refining their own skills and learning important leadership skills as well. Brianna G, noted, “I’ve learned that helping other players has actually helped me to become a better lacrosse player. It’s given me lots of extra practice, and as I’m teaching the new girls, I notice things that I need to get better at, too!” Devin R. hopes that her coaching will help the girls to become good lacrosse players, this spring and in the future, adding, “Helping people with something I love is an amazing feeling!”
The Girl Scout organization emphasizes service, self-confidence, and leadership among its members, and this girl-led project certainly accomplishes all three, while reaching out into the larger community of Hillsborough girls. Paige R. sums it up best when she notes, “It is helping me feel more confident in teaching my knowledge of lacrosse. By doing this, I feel that we are being a sister to every Girl Scout AND lacrosse player!”