MORRISTOWN, NJ - On January 9th, 2019, two Cadette Girl Scouts from Morristown Girl Scout Troop 94923, Micaela Cassidy and Seleyna Bautista, held the first session of their soccer clinic at the Morristown Neighborhood House (NABE). The clinic was the culmination of months of dedicated planning and hard work to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, one of the 3 highest awards that a Girl Scout can earn, that involves identifying a community need and then developing a take action project to address that issue.
Cassidy and Bautista are avid soccer players and, for their community service project, they wanted to empower girls through soccer. They partnered with the NABE, one of their local nonprofit organizations, when they discovered that the NABE historically experienced difficulty in getting girls interested in playing soccer due in part to cultural influence and parent idealization that only boys should play sports. Bruce Pearl, the NABE’s Recreation Director, became their project advisor and he provided valuable feedback and guidance on their Silver Award project to create a 4-session soccer clinic for the girls at the NABE.
“We think it’s just as vital for girls, like boys, to have an opportunity to play sports and wanted to give that chance to the girls at the NABE,” said Cassidy.
Throughout the month of January, Cassidy and Bautista met with NABE girls at weekly sessions to teach the fundamentals of soccer: dribble, pass, receive, and shoot. The clinic started with 13 girls and grew to over 20. With the influx of additional attendees, Cassidy and Bautista thought it would be helpful to have another set of hands … or, in the case of soccer, feet.
Sara Hoffman, their soccer teammate and sister Girl Scout from Troop 95089, happily obliged and, like a great Girl Scout, was ready to help in any way she could.
To support their Silver Award project, the two Girl Scouts sought sponsorship from the local professional soccer team, the New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls responded immediately, with Gareth Tyack, Manager, Regional Development Schools (RDS), saying, “It sounds as though what you are putting together will be a really worthwhile program and do great things for your community.”
Generously, the Red Bulls donated soccer balls, among other things, that each girl attending the clinic could take home when the clinic concluded.
With some ups and downs, Cassidy and Bautista powered through to create a well regarded and successful soccer clinic, receiving overwhelmingly positive responses from NABE girls and parents and fulfilling the two Girl Scout Cadettes’ original goal in starting this program to empower girls through soccer.
“We hope that in learning new skills while having fun kicking the soccer ball, the girls felt stronger than ever and that they could achieve whatever they set their mind to,” said Seleyna Bautista.
Throughout the course of their Girl Scout Silver Award journey, Cassidy and Bautista learned about leadership, teamwork, and many other life skills that they will use in the future. They have great hopes that their clinic will jumpstart girls’ interest in soccer at the NABE.