"Get in the Game": Scouts Gold Award Project

By Gery Schnarrs, USA Field Hockey Girl Scouts Gold Award (Troop 1925) | June 01, 2020, 4:15 p.m. (ET)

I started Girl Scouts when I was in second grade and have been playing field hockey since fifth grade. The first step in the Gold Award process is to pick a topic that is “near and dear to your heart”. Naturally, doing something with field hockey was my first thought. Field hockey had been a small part of our community when I was younger, but had faded in participation over the years. The numbers on our middle school team were dwindling and this decline in participation would pass on to the high school program if ways to participate and learn about the sport were not increased. Our community is also limited to few opportunities for children to be physically active as part of a team. This issue particularly bothered me due to the involvement of sports and physical fitness in my life. I think that through working in teams, children learn a lot, which will later shape their social and interpersonal skills in the future. The opportunities for these skills to develop were also lacking.There are many opportunities that I have received in my life due to my young exposure to sports. I saw the issue that these young kids would not get these future opportunities due to a lack of an organization to help guide and shape them from a young age.

I addressed the root cause of my issue by organizing a week-long free clinic to expose children in kindergarten to sixth grade to field hockey. After the clinic, I organized and helped coach a fall league to give children an opportunity to apply what was learned in an authentic environment. I also received a FUNdamental Field Hockey Grant from USA Field Hockey for a set of 24 sticks, balls, cones and curriculum. This donation allowed players to participate without having to spend money on a stick and explore the sport. Through these opportunities, I worked to promote healthy team environments and a safe and fun setting for participants to grow and learn. In addition to the activities above, I also created a webpage so my field hockey team will have access to the organizational materials and contact information they will need to keep "Get in the Game" sustainable for years to come.

 

The activities we did at the clinic not only helped to give the participants and beginning knowledge about field hockey, but it also helped with confidence, friendships, leadership and the enjoyment of being physically active. I also saw improvements in other aspects of my players such as their confidence, commitment, leadership and hard work. The participants were more outgoing and excited about their accomplishments as the year progressed. This program helped start a community of players that can now help grow the game moving forward.

The national/global link to my clinics are the growing interest of field hockey and the large number of athletes in our area that compete at a high level (college, nationally and internationally). Being able to make these connections to people who are from our regional area helps to provide positive role models to young members of the community. In addition, “Get in the Game” has a link to the global issues of "Good Health and Well-Being" (SDG3) through physical activity and working with others. It also can be linked to the goal of "Gender Equality" (SDG5) in that teamwork, leadership skills and the self confidence playing a sport can help empower women and girls both on and off of the field.
 
In addition to my clinic and fall league team, I also held a winter Brownie clinic for two troops in my area. Brownies participated in an afternoon clinic similar to my summer "Get in the Game" clinic and earned a USA Field Hockey Girl Scout badge in the process. I want to thank USA Field Hockey, Leann Letersky, Caeley Letersky, Erica Wenrich and especially Coach Groff (my advisor) for all of her help and support.

---

USA Field Hockey believes that field hockey supports the missions of both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the United States, and together, they can support the growth and development of youth across the country to be the leaders of tomorrow. If you’re interested in hosting a Scouts Field Hockey Clinic, or looking to create a partnership between your local field hockey program and a Boys or Girl Scouts troop, contactsportdevelopment@usafieldhockey.com. USA Field Hockey can provide "Fun" patches to registration and materials to run a 90-minute introductory clinic.