February Updates

It’s been awhile since my last blog post and in that time many things have happened here at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.  In early February, we had a panel discussion on “Increasing female participation in sports.” The panel speakers were Ms. Katie Hnida, Dr. Jennifer Mead, Dr. Justine Siegal and Ms. Rebekah Splaine Salwasser.  These women all have incredibly impressive backgrounds and were even more compelling to hear speak in person.  They all reiterated the importance of having a plethora of opportunities for women in sports and discussed the cultural implications of having equal opportunity to sport.  The roles that coaches, parents, communities and the athletes themselves all hold in increasing sports for women were discussed. Everyone can contribute to making sports appealing for girls and for ensuring that each athlete has a positive experience.  While the panelists all came from different sports and have very different stories, much of their advice was the same.  They all held an equally impressive amount of passion for the topic, which made the panel discussion inspiring and informative.

Over the past couple of months, I have begun doing more trainings and this has been really fun. Matt and I worked with a school in Quincy using Sport in Society’s Project TEAMWORK Curriculum.  I enjoyed working with these students, who were quite engaged throughout.  I especially liked doing the “Box Exercise” and breaking the class into single gender groups.  The girls really opened up for this exercise.  It was interesting to hear some of the more age-specific descriptions of what they say it means to be a girl. While the same message was conveyed, the specific words used by people I attended MVP Institute with and the middle school students were very different.

In addition to the Quincy trainings, Courtney and I worked with a school in Chelsea using the Boston vs. Bullies Curriculum.  This was also a fun experience, but was more challenging as a facilitator because the group was much larger.  The class in Quincy was no more than 25 students, whereas the group in Chelsea was close to 75 students.

This upcoming Thursday we are hosting a seminar series event on Getting the Most of Your Nonprofit Board Members.  Just like the previous events of this nature, Rick Arrowood, from the Nonprofit Management program here at Northeastern, will give the lecture.  I am looking forward to this, as all of his previous talks have been well done and informative, and all the other future events and trainings.

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Back to the Basics

Last week we hosted another one of our seminar series events.  The topic was Understanding Human Resources Management and Employment Law.  Rick Arrowood, a professor in the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern, gave the lecture. I enjoyed attending this seminar and learned a lot. I remember someone made the comment after the event that Rick has a way of making complex things seem so simple and understandable. I completely agree with this comment. With little knowledge of the nonprofit sector, all of the concepts and ideas Rick has talked about are new to me. However, he explains everything in basic terms. He gives real examples and cites relevant cases that bring to life the ideas. I like that he has catered the material specifically to that of a Sports Based Youth Development organizations and this has made the lectures even more interesting.

For the past few weeks, Prince and I have been helping out the P.E. classes at the Hurley School, a Boston Public School that is within walking distance from our office. The school is entirely bilingual, but many of the students speak even more than just two languages.  Each week I find myself impressed with the first grade class that completes their warm-up stretches by counting in four different languages. The classes are now currently on their basketball unit, which is especially fun for me as basketball is my favorite sport. It has been fun to teach the basics of the game to the students. I currently am an assistant coach of my college team at Tufts and have not coached younger players in a few years. It’s quite a different experience coaching these young students who have little or no basketball knowledge than it is coaching a college team. It has been both challenging and enjoyable to force myself to think about the very basic basketball movements and rules.  Explaining a layup to a first grader requires me to use straightforward vocabulary and to break down the simple basketball play into smaller and more understandable pieces.  With a more limited attention span of the students, the skills must be taught in a fun and engaging way.  I recently read a book on John Wooden, a famous college basketball coach whose leadership style and coaching tips are widely publicized.  Wooden broke down his teaching into four core components: demonstration, imitation, correction and repetition.  This is a great way to coach athletes at all levels.  Each component will look a bit different between the college team and the first grade class, but is a useful framework for me for both populations.

After the holidays we have exciting events and projects to continue to work on.  I am looking forward to continuing to make progress on our intern project with Matt and I am excited for the next event, which is a panel discussion on Increasing Female Participation in Sports.

First month as an intern

I’ve been interning here at Sport in Society for about a month and a half now.  In that time, I’ve learned a lot about the organization and what type of work is done here.  I am still trying to figure out exactly where I can fit in and then get more involved.  My time so far has been great as I meander my way through the website, old projects and talk with the other staff members.  Us new interns are beginning to work on a collaborative project and I’m excited to sort out details of this and then really get to work on it. In my short time here at Sport in Society, I have become much more interested in how sports can be used as a platform for social justice. There are a ton of cool organizations that are using sports for some type of “good.” Each day I seem to read about a new organization that is passionate about doing this.  It has been interesting to read about these organizations that exist in Boston and also all over the world.  Whether it is teaching skateboarding in a third-world country or making recess more organized right here in Boston, the missions of these organizations are similar. It has been eye-opening to read about these organizations and to learn about how they accomplish their mission.

Beyond that, I have really enjoyed attending events for Sports Based Youth Development Organizations.  The first event we held was about a month ago and was on “Building a Positive Culture in Sports-Based Youth Development Organizations.”  The four panelists shared some really great information and best practices.  They were all really down-to-earth and so enthusiastic about talking on the topic.  I learned a lot that I even can take back and incorporate into my basketball team at Tufts, which is a mini organization in some regards.  Building and then maintaining a positive culture is incredibly important in organizations like those present at this first event and definitely on athletic teams as well.

The second event was a seminar held last week about nonprofits.  Rick Arrowood, a Northeastern professor, gave a lecture on “How Nonprofit Organizations Organize and Operate.”  I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Applied Child Development and really have no background in Nonprofits. This lecture was informative and I learned a lot of useful information. I’m looking forward to the other upcoming seminars held by Rick, as well as the other upcoming panel discussions.

Next week we are having the fall MVP Institute and all the new interns will be attending. I’m excited for this and to learn what MVP is all about.  Since I began here at SIS, I have been hearing about how MVP really puts the work we do into a certain framework. I can’t wait to attend the institute.  All in all, I have enjoyed my experience here so far and am excited for all the upcoming events.