Each season, every team and/or league that participates in BALL has an opportunity to teach kids real-life lessons that impact their local community through an extended lesson called The Challenge.
Because this takes a little more effort, it's an optional lesson for a coach...but one that has huge upside potential for our nation's youth.
One such Challenge event is going on right now, and I thought that it would be nice to give you a taste of how it works and introduce the charities being championed by one of the teams...
During a 3 week period at the beginning of a season, each team practices a BALL-based curriculum of plyometrics, quick twitch drills, and sport-specific drills (in this case, football) and learns about three local kid-centric charities of the league or coach's choosing. Each player has a chance to earn prizes for performing in each Challenge category: physical, community buzz created, and total funds raised.
During the lesson, they are taught that there are 3 ways to help a charity:
1) Donate time,
2) Raise money, and
3) Raise community awareness about the cause.
BALL ties all of these together in the lesson.
They are then tasked with spreading the word to family and friends about what these charities do for their communities. Financial support from these families is welcome, but not required.
At the end of the three weeks, athletes compete at a special Challenge practice and are graded/scored on the physical skill sets. They get points as both a team and as individuals.
After the money is collected, the funds are allocated to the team, the youth league, and one of the three charities. What determines the charity? That's the real point of the lesson...
In a world filled with unlimited needs but limited resources, we all need to make difficult and sometimes painful choices. In this case, the choice has a financial impact: which charity gets the financial help? The kids must come to a consensus via a team vote.
Following are an example of this season's chosen charities:
1. SAS Foundation: Provides heart defibulators and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (“SCA”) awareness education for schools. Founded by the parents of Shauna Stuewe, a 14 year old cheerleader who tragically died on Esperanza High School’s (Orange County, CA) athletic field during cheerleading practice. http://www.shaunastuewe.com/
2. CHOC: Orange county-based hospital that provides world-class medical care in specialties like catastrophic accident rehabilitation, cancer, epilepsy and other hard-to-treat medical conditions to kids regardless of a family’s financial situation. (http://www.choc.org/about/index.cfm)
3. The Orangewood Children’s Foundation: Provides short and medium term shelter and support for children who are victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. http://www.orangewoodfoundation.org/index.asp
It is my hope that, over time, The Challenge becomes an integral part of each youth sport's season. It could literally change the face of charitable giving, and actively prepare the next generation for fulfilling one part of Wooden's 7 Point Creed: Help Others.
Make each day your masterpiece!