Girls in the Game, Family Style

Written by Coach Margaret, an MSW student at the University of Illinois-Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work and Camps and Clinics Coach.

Last month, I had the honor of coaching at an event new to the Camps and Clinics program. In addition to Game Days, Clinics, Triathlon Team, and Summer Camp, the Camps and Clinics team is proud to add a new programming opportunity to the roster: Super Saturdays. A Super Saturday event provides a chance for girls who have previously participated in a Game Day to engage with Girls in the Game once again. In addition to inviting the girls, we encourage them to bring their family and friends. Recently, we held a Super Saturday at the North Lawndale YMCA and invited girls and their families from four different West Side schools, as well as girls who heard about the event through the YMCA. At the Super Saturday girls and their families learned about smart eating, sportswomanship, and the choreography to the “Move Your Body” dance. It was a fun, fast-paced, and active two hours!

Girls and their families learn choreography at the Camps & Clinics Super Saturday

Unlike coaches in the After School programs, I am not able to foster a long-term relationship with many of our participants. I interact with the girls during a forty-five minute rotation, at one Game Day. As a result of my limited interaction with the girls, seeing some of them again at the Super Saturday was very exciting. I was interested to see if our short time with the girls at their school’s Game Day had an impact. Fairly quickly, it was obvious to me that the girls had benefited from our short time together, at least enough to want to bring lots of friends and family.  Olivia attended the Super Saturday, as well as many other girls who I remembered from various Game Days. The air was heavy with anticipation as more and more people arrived—girls and their families were ready to move!

And move they did. To be honest, the two hours are a blur. However, what stands out most in my mind are images of families being active, learning, and having fun together. From a family engagement standpoint, this event was a huge success. Girls were eager to teach their families what they had learned and to learn new things together. One family had three generations present: A newborn in a stroller and a grandmother in a tracksuit were both there because of their girl’s previous positive experience with Girls in the Game. As one parent put it, “I really enjoyed my first experience with the group and was eager to have my child participate again.” Another parent remarked upon the positive afternoon they had: “I just enjoyed myself today. I learned new things and met new people. I had a lot of fun.”

If you’re looking to learn the choreography to Beyonce’s “Move Your Body” dance (and I highly suggest that you do) you could ask the girls who came to the Super Saturday. If you want even more teachers, ask the girls’ family and friends. At Girls in the Game, being active is a family affair!

-Coach Margaret

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