Spring Clinics Recap (Yes, Spring)

So much has been going on in AGE UP this summer—fundraising, planning for next year, making zombie videos—that blogging about the spring clinics was put aside. But now that there is a break in the excitement, we decided it’s never too late to tell you about our coaching adventures…

AGE UP coaches, 1st years, and 2nd years put on twelve clinics throughout the spring at five different locations across the greater Seattle area—Kimball Elementary, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Southshore K-8, MLK Jr. Elementary, and Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club. Taking a different approach than last spring, we returned to schools two or three times to give a more progressive and valuable learning experience to the well over one-hundred kids we taught.

Children’s enthusiastic grins and visible improvement, as well as the surveys after each clinic, showed us we were achieving our goal of passing on our expertise and love of Ultimate to a younger generation of Ultimate stars. Almost every participant said they had lots of fun, learned many things, and would definitely want to play Ultimate again! One kid wrote on their survey “you guys are great coaches” and others echoed the same thoughts. Children said they learned the importance of cutting, how to throw, and how to “fake throw to make [the mark] turn around.” The 2nd years improved their coaching skills and many 1st years experienced coaching children for the first time. 1st years felt successful when they were able to help children learn to throw.

However, the clinics did not always fly by with ease and grace—there were challenges to overcome, of course. We faced soggy weather, rambunctious children who WOULD NOT LISTEN, and the betrayal of vegetarian vows (coughleahfurycough). Some clinics had many more kids than others and there was always a wide range of skill levels among them. We had to balance teaching the basics and still challenging the more experienced players. The patience and thought it takes to coach is seriously hard to appreciate before you try it. You see how much it is worth it, though, when the children are getting better and having fun.

We have all learned a lot throughout this process—coaches and coached alike. We ended every clinic with a discussion of plus/delta (or a messy +/Δ in Samscript, Samskrit, or Sams Serif, whichever of Sam Terry’s fonts you prefer). Frequent positive elements were the enthusiasm of the children and their eagerness to learn. Thinking about next year’s changes, we want the first years to be even more involved and, of course, we need to keep Tiffany’s attitude in check.

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures of the clinics. We would love to show you the cute elementary kids learning to play ultimate, but we can’t post pictures of kids without photo releases. :(

AGE-UP Retreat: Day Two

Those in my cabin who had actually been able to sleep until eight, the scheduled wake up time, awoke the second day of the retreat to a chorus of shrieking monkeys outside our cabin. I peeked curiously from the sleeping bag in which I was deeply nestled to catch a glimpse of Tiffany’s wide eyed screeching face in the foggy window and I was left to imagine the sight of the rest of cabin three, in their pajamas, encircling our cabin.

Photo by Vanessa

Once everyone had pulled themselves out of bed, rolled up their sleeping bags and made it to our dining room, we loaded our stomachs up with bagels (or in some cases leftover lasagna) for the exercise that lay in wait.But first: our coaching clinic continued by Miyo and Tiffany. The emphasis was “how to teach.”  At the clinics we will be coaching at elementary and middle schools, we will need to be able to teach kids effectively so that they are engaged, improve their ultimate technique, and leave the clinic with a sense of Spirit if the Game and a desire to continue playing. To learn how to accomplish these goals, first and second year AGE-UPers split into five teams to do skits. There were skits of explaining how to open a jar, demonstrating how to do the Macarena, and wrapping up a visit to the zoo. These were based on the important skills of giving a clear and simple explanation, teaching through a visual demonstration, and closing a drill.

Photo by Vanessa
Photo by Vanessa
Photo by Vanessa

The two other teams had a showdown…who could give the best explanation of a dog drill? While the cheers of the audience voted for group five, my group obviously was the real winner because THEY CHEATED!Our practice that day was coached by everyone. Each team from mini the day before was given a drill to teach and lead. We warmed up, threw forehands, threw backhands, focused on catching, played boot (lead by group 4!), and scrimmaged for the first time together with full teams on a full sized field! We concluded our season of workshops with a big AGE-UP!!!, now prepared to spread our energy and love of Ultimate through Seattle. Here we come!

Talking About Our Futures

This Tuesday we had a great session with two guests from Scholarship Junkies. We introduced ourselves while pigging out on baked pasta and then jumped right in to learning about the crazy world of scholarships. I, for one, learned a ton of new things! Sam, CEO of Scholarship Junkies, answered our questions, gave us tips, and inspired hope for our futures. He was very experienced with helping high school students like us. A lot of his knowledge came from his own experiences applying to 75+ scholarships (WOW) and ultimately succeeding in covering his entire college tuition! I was amazed.

It turns out there are actually many scholarships that barely anyone applies to as well as many very strange and possibly controversial ones. We learned about scholarships based on need, achievement, race (the fairness of this was a topic for discussion), and odd things no one would ever think you could get a load of money for. The weirdest one Sam applied for was from Cement Mixers of Washington, but he also entertained us with the Stuck at Prom Duck Tape Scholarship and the Duck Calling Scholarship. Many companies like McDonalds and Best Buy have scholarships as well. Thank you to Scholarship Junkies for all you taught us!

We ended our session by checking in with our job groups. As an outcome of this meeting, we now have a TWITTER ACCOUNT!!! Follow us @AGE UP1!

Lots of love,

Hallie

MLK Day + Snow = Good Times

Hey everyone, it’s Hallie. I was sad to be stuck in my house yesterday instead of going to AGE-UP, but I did get to enjoy the weather and have a different powerful experience on Monday. I marched in the MLK march downtown, chanting with the enthusiastic crowd, “What do we want?” “Justice!” “When do we want it?” “Now!” and “The people united will never be divided!”

I was there with the Amnesty International club from my school and carried a petition that I completely filled with signatures (29!) of people in support of the the release of Liu Xiaobo who is a Nobel Peace Price winner imprisoned in China for exercising his right to freedom of speech by criticizing corruption in the government. It is one thing to have compassion, but it is another to act on it. Often action requires sacrifice. At first I was shy to approach people. I knew most people would agree to sign it, so I guess I just didn’t want to intrude or make a fool of myself. But soon enough I realized I needed to sacrifice comfort and take the chance of being embarrassed for a much more important cause.

I realized that it’s okay to go to events knowing nothing about the issues they address because, if I do now, when I am older I will knowledgeable enough to be active and make good decisions. I am also planning on going to a death penalty lobby day in Olympia on the 25th, even though I am not in an informed position to lobby, because it will help me move toward being a more aware citizen.

Hope you are staying safe and warm and enjoying the unusual weather! Here is an AGE-UP snowwoman for your personal enjoyment. I will now go ski to the grocery store!