One of our aims in teaching sports is to foster in our students a positive sense of self, leadership skills, confidence, trust, and teamwork. To that end past leaders introduced the Coneja Colaboradora (collaborative bunny) into sports class. It’s given out at the end of practice to the girl who exhibited sportsmanship and a collaborative attitude in all the activities. Jamie and I are usually so focused on keeping the girls in order and making sure the drills and games are running smoothly that it’s hard to pick out just one girl. Thankfully, at most of the schools, all of the girls are working well with one another. Whoever is selected gets to hold the plush Coneja for a few minutes before we do our final cheer and leave class.
In addition the Coneja Colaboradora, we introduced the Piedrita de Liderazgo (little leadership stone) to all the classes. The girls oohed and ahhed as they passed the smooth, pink stone through their hands. They especially love that it comes from the United States. A friend gave me the stone when we began our senior year on the Dickinson volleyball team. We were co-captains and she had received the stone 3-4 years before when she was a co-captain of her high school volleyball team. We don’t have captains during sports class but do want to teach the concepts of leadership and responsibility. The girl we give it to at the beginning of each class will lead all of us in the warm-up run, stretching (when we count to 10 in Spanish, English, and Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by many here), and she’ll also aim to help her teammates throughout class. Both the Coneja and the Piedrita seem to have greatly enhanced a sense of team identity for our students.