Moving On

Today is my last day at Girls in the Game! I am finishing up a few final projects this morning before I say my goodbyes. During the last couple of days, I have been reminiscing about my experience. It has been a bit overwhelming because every experience I’ve had here has been a valuable one. When I woke up one morning and realized that I was having dreams about the girls, I knew that I had become invested in the mission of this organization.

My dream was strangely realistic and clear. I was sitting under a tree in Union Park with the girls and we were having lunch, just like we do every day at camp. I was sitting with the younger girls and we were talking about our favorite aspects of camp. I should have known it was a dream because it was very quiet, which is certainly not the case in reality. The girls were talking one at a time, listening carefully and thoughtfully. It was a very adult and composed conversation they were having, and I remember distinctly feeling like I was observing an excellent classroom discussion. I didn’t have anything to say, so I just sat and watched the girls talk. I don’t remember what they were saying in particular, but it was interesting how my brain was attributing characteristics to the girls that were very authentic to how they are in real life. The way the girls talked, gestured and laughed stuck with me after I woke up.

I’ve been thinking about that dream a lot. Now that they’ve left for overnight camp, I find myself missing the girls and their quirky personalities.

So much of this experience has been positive. I really enjoyed being a part of an organization made up of smart, driven, empowered women. Everyone here understands how important it is to provide health, sports and leadership opportunities to young girls and women. I cannot say enough about the people who work here.

Ultimately, however, the girls have shaped my experience here. At the very beginning of my internship I decided to focus on the reciprocal learning relationship between coaches and campers. Looking back, I can only hope that the girls learned half as much from me as I have learned from them.

Moving forward, I am readying myself for a big transition. I’m moving back home, so I’ll say goodbye to Chicago for a while. In less than two weeks, I’ll be back at school where I am a sociology and anthropology major. My time here at Girls in the Game has inspired me to pursue an academic project on urban food deserts and other socioeconomic factors that contribute to uneven rates of obesity in minority populations.

I hope to find myself back at Girls in the Game in the future. I am excited to see what is in store for this organization and the remarkable girls it serves.

My most sincere thank you to everyone here. You are all role models to me. Until next time!

Coach Ryder

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