Adorning the walls of GirlSportWorks’ office in Cusco, in bright blue and green hues, are signed ‘contracts’ from years past. Each contract uniquely articulates GSW values. The edges of the papers are covered with the curving signatures of our past program members, vowing to pursue our five common goals. To kick-start this year of new Project Managers, we unrolled a new contract at each of our four schools. “What does it mean to be a Chica Dinámica,” we asked the girls — referencing our Spanish name for GSW members. We were awed and inspired by the responses we received.
To be in GirlSportWorks means to be a leader — to try our hardest at each new activity, to arrive on time with a smile, to listen to the Project Managers even when friends are talking. We as Chicas Dinámicas have self-confidence, and we show it by adding our voice to the conversation, and by being brave when we are learning difficult drills. We know healthy living is important, so we choose water over soda and bring healthy snacks to class. We value communication, and so we learn and use everyone’s name during practice, and we share the ways we felt about the day in our group discussion after class. And last but not least, we as GSW members value teamwork. There was a special opportunity to highlight the importance of teamwork this past week.
It is already evident to us that GirlSportWorks’ ten years of excellent work has fostered incredible relationships in Cusco. We were warmed by the welcome we received from all the school administrators this week, who generously presented us to classes of new girls at each school. We were able to introduce GirlSportWorks to a dozen classrooms of bright faces, and were rewarded with a large crowd of newcomers at our following sports class. It was refreshing to see the veteran GSW members take the new girls under their wing. This was especially true at the end of the new girls’ first practice.
It is GSW tradition at the end of every sports class to award recognition to two girls with the bestowing of two beanie babies: the Coneja Colaboradora (Collaborative Bunny) and the Peluchín (Sporty Bear). We award the Sporty Bear to a girl who has demonstrated excellence with the current sport. For example, this week we gave the Sporty Bear to Esther, who repeatedly remembered to stop the soccer ball with her body rather than with her hands. The Collaborative Bunny, however, is a golden opportunity for us to routinely communicate and incorporate our value of teamwork into daily practice.
With the new girls sitting intermingled with our older members, we asked for help explaining the Collaborative Bunny and what actions it rewards. These were the responses we heard: “For being a team player. Passing the ball. Helping other girls. Sharing. Cheering others on. Working together.” At every class, we look for displays of such acts of teamwork so that we can reward the good behavior that we love to see with the treasured Coneja Colaboradora. We are immensely encouraged to hear and see the Chicas Dinámicas act out the values of GirlSportWorks in tangible ways. It is an incredible opportunity to get to contribute to the GSW legacy of recognizing and promoting leadership, and we are eagerly seeking out new methods of bringing GSW values to life in the eyes of our girls.