Thanks to the North East Field Hockey Association (NEFHA), thirty five physical education professionals from the Bronx, N.Y. met last week to encounter an unknown sport for the first time --field hockey. They embraced the sport head on and focused on the rules, skills, and overall mission of the game. The two hour session demonstrated a glimpse of what their students would be participating in. The physical education teachers displayed interest and truly demonstrated the passion of learning within their educational system.
The USA Field Hockey Sport Development team aims to continue working with NEFHA to progress the sport into an after school program for children in New York City. The program called CHAMPS was implemented into the middle school sports and fitness league as an initiative of the New York City Department of Education. The program promotes student physical activity during the critical years of middle school. The name, CHAMPS derives from the initials for the five characteristics that describe the participants: Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated and Positive Students.
“Our mission as the Sport Development team is to create, educate and advocate for anyone who wants to play the sport,” said Courtney Tavener, USA Field Hockey’s Sport Development Coordinator. “The diverse ethnic and cultural makeup of New York City’s populace makes it an impeccable venue to explore.”
“I wanted to use the FUNdamental Field Hockey program as a platform to continue developing field hockey in New York City because there are not many public schools or organizations that offer the sport to our inner-city youth,” said USA Field Hockey Umpire, Jozann Jackson. “Additionally, in the United States, as opposed to the rest of the world, field hockey is predominately regarded as a sport for women. Together, we want to change that stereotype.”
“What excited me about FUNdamental Feld Hockeywas the equipment and support from USA Field Hockey,” said Katherine Vera, NEFHA board member “There are many schools and community organizations at this time that have low budgets for team sports. When Harrow Sports paired up with FUNdamental Field Hockey, they provided opportunity. Through the program, schools and communities now have access to field hockey equipment and an amazing, intuitive curriculum that makes it easy for anyone to pick up field hockey and teach it to kids.”
“This sport has given me so much in life, and the best way I can give back to the sport is to teach and coach adults and youth,” said Jackson.
“Playing field hockey was so important to my development as I was growing up,” said Vera. “It gave me self-confidence, a sense of teamwork, and the desire to work hard at something. To be given the opportunity to offer kids that same experience is incredibly rewarding.”
“It has been an extremely gratifying process working with Kat, Jozann and NEFHA,” said Tavener. “Without their help and devotion to the game, the sport would not be spreading across the inner city. Together we will cultivate field hockey through CHAMPS, FUNdamental Field Hockey programs and other avenues in hopes of generating enough interest to implement the sport into the educational system.”
FUNdamental Field Hockey is a USA Field Hockey youth development initiative that inspires participation and exposes the sport of field hockey to thousands of boys and girls by providing free equipment and emphasizing fun physical activity. For more information on the program and how you can get involved, visit usafieldhockey.com. To find a program near you, click here