Confidence is a powerful feeling that is fostered internally and supported through external encouragement and interactions. It is something that I, as well as many others, struggled with through adolescence. Playing sports helped me immeasurably with my confidence throughout high school and college, particularly running on the cross country and indoor track team. Setting short and long-term goals helped improve my times, but also made a long-lasting impact on my confidence as a young woman. Sports helped me learn that it is healthy to take risks and push yourself.
We just did two weeks of Track & Field with our girls and were delighted with their responsiveness as individual athletes as well as supportive teammates. Throughout the segment, our chicas learned many skills, including how to pace themselves for longer runs, how to pass a baton in relays, the proper form for the long jump, and how to start a 100m dash. The girls especially loved the long jump because they could see their improvement and could compete with themselves.
Our Track and Field segment was filled with memorable moments. Fanny discovered her talent for long-distance running. Shirley blew us all away with her long jump, which was longer than both of the profe’s and left us with our mouths agape. Little 6 year old Ester warmed our hearts when she tucked her flower-print pants into her socks so she could run faster for her team in the relay.
Most memorably, the girls learned to push themselves further than we’ve seen before in both the team and individual events and left with more confidence. All-around, the girls created a wonderful environment where mutual support was ever-present. By the end of the two weeks, there was a noticeable difference in their confidence as well as ability to work as a team, which was not what we expected from a traditionally individual sport.
The entire segment ended on a high note when, at the end of the final track class at Los Nogales where we had a mini track meet, MariCielo raised her hand to say to the class, “No quise venir hoy, pero estuvo muy divertido y ahora estoy muy animada. Estoy alegre que vine.” (“I didn’t want to come today, but it was fun and now I am energetic. I’m happy that I came.”) As GSW Project Managers, we are always structuring classes to work towards the larger goals, such as confidence and leadership, but MariCielo reminded us that the most important thing is that if the girls have fun in class, the rest will follow.