Emily Van Pelt - Field Hockey Gold Award Project

Growing the Game in Hillsborough, N.J.

I have been a Girl Scout since I was 5 years old. I was introduced to field hockey when I was in 6th grade. There was no recreational or travel program as well as no field space to teach children how to play field hockey where I lived in Hillsborough, N.J. For five years, I worked toward creating a program, and in 2014 it finally happened. I collaborated with the Hillsborough Parks and Recreation Department to obtain supplies to create the field, and reached out to many colleges and schools to allow two gently used field hockey goals to be donated to the township parks and recreation department. I also received a FUNdamental Field Hockey Grant from USA Field Hockey, for a set of 24 sticks, balls, cones and curriculum. I wanted to create a field hockey pitch in our community, so children could be exposed to field hockey, and to grow the game that I love. By establishing the dedicated space, programs and teams were developed. A total of 42 people participated in two separate clinics that I put on with my club coach Ingrid Alkhoven from Total Dutch Field Hockey. Today, the clinics have transitioned into a full-time field hockey program, Hillsborough Jr. Raiders Field Hockey. Within the program, regular clinics are offered to girls in kindergarten and first grade while league competition exists for grades 2-6. Hillsborough now has five teams total. I am thankful for the help that I received on this project from Coach Alkhoven, township parks and recreation department, Hillsborough Athletics, Hillsborough Board of education, Township Committee, high school field hockey team, Temple University field hockey, USA Field Hockey and especially my family, there's no way I could have completed my project without them.