Summer CSGC Grant Update: Organizing And Coaching An All Girls Softball Youth Camp

What I Learned From the Activities:

Through the experience of my service project, I learned that I thoroughly enjoy teaching young children. The girls who attended my camp were eager to learn, and ask questions about the female athletes that inspire me. When setting up the activities for the first day, I knew the water bottles and sticker decorating would engage the younger group, but I was a little nervous about the older girls. Although the older girls were not as excited about the stickers, they were excited to learn about the reason behind the stickers.   They asked many questions about my service trips, and wanted to learn more about how to purchase sustainable items–such as the water bottles that I gave them.

When the girls showed up a half hour early the next morning, I had the table set up with their journals. I knew this activity was more geared towards the older girls, as we would be talking about mindset and the mental side of the game. Through this activity I learned that no matter how old, the girls were ready to set goals for themselves and reflect on their previous practice. One thing that I learned about myself from this activity was that I enjoy the challenge of being versatile and adjusting the activities to the needs of my audience.

The last day was filled with planting seeds, eating bananas, and making our own compost bin. From this activity I learned that young kids are eager to learn about the environment, and they are ready to take action, even if it is as small as starting a compost bin or being more conscious about the waste they throw away. The activity taught the girls about the importance of taking care of the environment and inspired them to make change/take action in their own lives.

What I Learned From Coaching:

After demonstrating drills, and fixing technical problems in the throwing and fielding of the athletes, I saw myself as an assistant coach. My self-image changed on the first day of practice when I had a parent come up to me and ask, “my daughter loved learning from you, and being your partner in camp today; as we were about to leave she asked if she could have a girl coach every time.” From this small insight into the way the girls looked at me, I knew I was more than a coach. I was a role model and probably one of the first female coaches they have had. In a small town, many of the coaches are fathers of their teammates. Seeing a young female in the position I was in was something new for some of the girls, which reminded me why I chose this service project in the first place–teaching them about equality, the environment, and simply being a female role model in their athletic career.

-Lauren Sobczak ’24