Developing 21st century skills leads to lots of tournament wins!July 29, 2015
Let’s be real: winning is usually more fun than losing. Our campers participate in a whole lot of traveling team sports tournaments during the summer, and it would be great if they won every single game and match, but that’s not particularly realistic. We often play in tournaments with seven or eight camps, and one can reasonably assume that while we will win some we’ll lose some others.
We are not an all sports camp, and many of the teams in our tournaments are. So while our kids have well-rounded summers of sports, arts, and outdoor adventures, they are often playing kids whose summers are mostly about training in one particular sport.
So with all of that being said, I feel pretty fantastic about our little brother-sister summer camp in New Hampshire’s win/loss record this summer. With our emphasis on kindness, friendship, and developing 21st century skills, we’ve had a whole lot of 1st place wins this year.
This morning our Evergreen 15 and Under Soccer team traveled to a nearby all-girls camp. It was 90 degrees with 90% humidity, and the competition was fierce. After weeks of practicing with Head Coach Soccer Tom, our girls were ready, and they were united. So when they got on the field for the first game they scored 9 goals and handily won. And then they won every game after that, including in the finals where a last second goal secured our first place victory.
I was at the camp gate when they returned. Coach Tom told me that while he was proud of their playing (and obviously their win), what he was most proud of was how well they worked together. He said that the other teams even commented on how well our girls communicated, and how tough they were all day long. He also said that they remained good sports throughout the entire day and were such good role models for our younger campers…
Including our Evergreen 12 and Under Basketball team. They actually faced MORE teams and played longer today. And they came home with a first place win as well. Coach Erin was beaming with pride as her team stepped off the bus this evening. She and the campers regaled us all with stories of kids many inches taller than them, and how our basketball fundamentals and practiced plays are what helped them walk away victorious.
This team has been practicing for weeks and today it showed. On display, according to the counselors, was their ability to collaborate as one big machine, and the way that they adapted to changing teams and different styles of play. And just like with our soccer team, Coach Erin wanted me to know how proud she was of how our basketball players interacted with the campers on the other teams. They may have played their hearts out, but they also did things like stop to help an opposing player who had fallen down on the court.
This is the same sort of quality sportsmanship I saw yesterday throughout our boys’ Ultimate Frisbee tournament. Ultimate is a really physical game, and tempers can easily flare in the midst of a tough moment. But not with our boys yesterday. All day long they played hard but fair and accepted the referees’ calls even if they didn’t go the way that they thought they should. When the final whistle of the final game blew, they hugged each other in triumph for just a moment…and then promptly formed a line to shake hands and congratulate the other team on a well-fought tournament.
This is yet another reason why I love our values-driven summer camp, and why our emphasis on teaching 21st century skills is so important. These experiences on sports teams coached by counselors versed in this subject matter lead not just to skills for when they enter the business or academic world, but also for helping them truly have great achievements while they are still growing.
That so many of these big wins took place in the second half of the summer is no accident. It takes serious time to develop 21st century skills like resilience, persistence, collaboration and leadership, but once our campers become proficient in them it opens doors for them.
So congratulations to all of our athletes who have been finding such success on our fields and courts this summer. Kudos to our younger kids who come to us interested in learning the basics of tennis, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, or soccer, and will someday have these same moments of personal and team glory.
The same holds true for our campers deeply engaged in the other areas of our camp, like our performing and visual arts programs. Congratulations on the quality of the movies you’ve been editing for weeks, or the clay you finally learned how to center on the potter’s wheel. Cheers to your rock band that is finally making beautiful music, and well done on mastering that building technique in our wood shop.
Kudos to our boys and girls who have completed all 7 Red Cross swim levels, and are now working incredibly hard to become certified lifeguards.
Congratulations to all of our campers for their many weeks of practicing their passions, and for the pay offs they are starting to see in the second half of the summer at our 7-week brother-sister overnight camp!