My name is Kristen Hinckley and I am currently a Junior at Dartmouth College. I spent my off-term from college working/volunteering/interning in Cusco, Peru for 6 weeks. I was lucky to be able to work with two different organizations during my time in Cusco- GirlSportWorks where I was coaching and Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls where I was teaching. I spent all day Monday working with GSW at Los Nogales where we taught three English classes and then coached our sports class. During the other days of the week, I worked at Chicuchas Wasi in the mornings and worked with the sports classes in the afternoon.
One of my favorite parts of working with GSW was working at so many different schools in Cusco. I was able to see so many different parts of the city while spending time at the various schools. I also loved that I was able to form relationships at specific schools, namely Santoni and Los Nogales, because we saw them each twice a week. I think that building these relationships is a very important part of coaching because if I had not gotten to know the girls personally, it would have been difficult to coach them effectively.
Furthermore, I loved learning about the systems and routines at GSW. The system of earning rewards from showing up to class and bringing water and fruit struck me as a very effective and fair way to create a sense of responsibility in the girls. I was very impressed with how the life lessons and teachings are so ingrained into the sports curriculum. This reminded me of the power of sport and how it can be such an important vehicle to empower and teach people.
Caroline and Larkin shared many stories with me about their experiences at GSW and one of my favorites was our conversation about the impact that the program has had on various students. They spoke to me about one girl who was very shy and timid at first, but after coming to GSW sports classes she had gained confidence and learned to speak up more. It is so exciting to see these results and changes first hand- a great reward for a coach!
I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to intern with GSW this fall. I was really excited that I was able to learn so much from Larkin and Caroline. I had the opportunity to teach one of our Los Nogales English class days by giving a presentation on Spain with English vocabulary which was my first experience teaching in “primary school.” Also, one of my favorite memories from my internships at GSW was coaching lacrosse. In my senior year of high school I had created a lacrosse curriculum for GSW to use in their sports classes in Cusco. Everything came full circle when I taught my own lacrosse curriculum at Santoni this fall. The girls loved it and were so eager to learn a new sport. It was particularly special because they were some of the first girls in Peru to learn lacrosse!
Once again, I feel so fortunate to have spent this time coaching with GSW in Cusco and I hope to return to Cusco soon! Thank you so much!