It’s time to go back to school, and all across the Playworks nation, our regional teams have been gearing up for a strong start. In San Francisco, energy and expectations are high. The program team worked hard on recruitment this summer, adding 22 new staff and AmeriCorps coaches to our handful of solid returners, and expanding our TeamUp partnership to 12 schools across three school districts.
After a Friday afternoon meet-and-greet with office staff and board members, coaches convened the morning of August 17 at Bret Harte Elementary to mark the official start of pre-service. In true Playworks fashion, things kicked off with a bang: a few rounds of icebreakers, a rundown of our core values, some team-building activities, and lots and lots of games. Over the next two weeks, coaches practiced the game implementation skills and proactive group management strategies that will make them playground rockstars, and they attended personal influence and gender-on-the-playground sessions to help mentally prepare them for some of the challenges they’ll face this year.
“I’m pumped,” says first-year coach Sophia Rutkin.
“I’m feeling a lot of confidence,” adds Donna Chan. “I’m ready to put this stuff to use.”
Coaches got a small opportunity to do just that during the second week of pre-service; they spent two days visiting their schools before reuniting as a group on Wednesday to discuss their experiences. And although many acknowledged that the year ahead would be no easy task, all remained excited to embrace the opportunity.
“My first day was really long,” reports Adam Glasser. “I was at school until six o’clock getting things organized, but as I left, I overheard a student telling her mom, ‘the new Playworks coach likes me, and I like him, too!’” Adam smiles from ear to ear as he tells his story. “I can’t wait to go back,” he says.