Project Effort - Urban Soccer Camp

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Developing personal and social responsibility in Greensboro's youth
 

The mission of Amplified Soccer Athlete is to not only aggregate training resources and create new content to support athletes in their journey to become better but also to inspire you to enhance the community and the world through soccer. There are a multitude of options to give back to the game in your local community and around the globe. Each issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete highlights a story of individuals, clubs or organizations involved in contributing to a better world.

No matter how difficult you think your life is there’s always someone facing tougher challenges. It’s important to build a soccer community that focuses not only on the highest levels of the sport but on all levels to give everyone that wants to play an opportunity to participate. Project Effort does all of this and more. 

Started 20 years ago and run through the Kinesiology Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Project Effort is centered on providing underserved elementary and middle age students in Greensboro, NC (pop. 277,080) with after school sport opportunities. The program uses physical activity as a model to help promote personal and social responsibility while emphasizing transferring these values to contexts "Outside the gym," such as school, home, and other community settings. 

We had the opportunity to catch-up with Sari Rose, Project Effort Assistant Director and North Carolina Youth Soccer Association Assistant Technical Director of Coaching and Player Education and Development. Sari started working with the program six years ago while working on her doctorate in Community Youth Sport Development at UNC Greensboro. Because of her role with NCYSA and connections with the soccer community, the program’s sports focus became primarily soccer. 

While Project Effort is run by Rose and adult volunteers from UNC Greensboro and the community, she will be the first to tell you that it’s “really taught by the high school kids.” High school participants who were part of the Project Effort programs become members of the Youth Leader Corps (YLC).  YLC members are trained to run the program by learning how to coach with a child centered approach. Therefore, the program isn’t only providing a valuable service to younger kids in the community, it is also building the next generation of leaders to come out of the program. 

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“It’s an amazing program because it’s working with underserved youth but it’s not adults taking charge, the kids that came up through the program are running it and becoming leaders,” said Rose. “To help accomplish this, we also have a mentoring program. Graduate and undergraduate students work one-on-one with club members on goal setting at the schools and all mentors receive special training.” Many of these students will go on to college and Project Effort will assist in some of the basic supplies and needs as they transition on to the next level.

Four years ago, Project Effort started a summer soccer camp to provide more opportunities for the kids. As part of the camp, club coaches and college coaches from the area help not only with running stations and organizing the camp, but they will also identify the kids that might benefit from participation in the organized travel programs with the youth clubs. Again, while the camp is overseen by Rose and the coaches, it is really run by the high school kids who become coaches and referees through the program.

The program really is bringing the Greensboro community and larger soccer community in North Carolina together through sport. NCYSA plays a lead role in sponsoring the camp, but clubs like Greensboro United, Charlotte United, Triangle United and Piedmont Triad FC chip in along with local college coaches. The coalition of soccer organizations provides financial funds, apparel, fields, coaches and more which allows for the camp to be free for the 100 participants each summer. 

What’s next? Project Effort is looking to expand into more communities throughout Greensboro and increase the number of kids that move on from the program into clubs in Greensboro. As the program expands they will look to partner with more schools for the after school programs and work with groups like Boys & Girls Clubs to provide coaches for recreational soccer. Main goal: Provide a safe place for kids to cultivate their love of soccer and develop the skills needed to be responsible on the pitch, in school at home.

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
— Arthur Ashe

To find out more about Project Effort visit their page on Facebook or contact projecteffortnc@gmail.com


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