Every Summer, we bring our community together for Voices of ASNY Family Day - celebrating the success of our social justice youth development summer programming. Continuing the remote and virtual format which we launched in the Spring, this past four weeks focused on ensuring our poet-athletes felt safe, supported, connected, and hopeful.
During one of the Family Day Highlights, Makeba interviews professional soccer stars Shea Groom and Haley Kopmeyer
Our Summer Americorps VISTA Karla experienced it all and she wanted to write here about how seeing the poet-athletes gather in this format has inspired her.
On Friday, August 7th, we held our annual Family Day. This year we had a virtual family day where the poet-athletes’ family and friends were invited to see what their children had been working on throughout a summer of poetry, soccer and discussions around social justice and racial equity.
The first half of the day started with an exciting speech from our Director of Soccer Programming, Chloe Wheeler, followed by icebreaker riddles that stirred our poet-athletes’ positive energy.
Along with that, we looked back at our virtual summer camp with a remarkable video that captured the highlights of the student’s soccer skills and poetry sessions. Finally, we finished the first half of the day with an awards ceremony slideshow that recognized the completion of the summer virtual camp.
The second half of the day was to empower poet-athletes by showcasing their poems to influential people of our communities. One of the highlights of the day was when the poet-athletes got to hear and see goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer and soccer player Shea Groom. We had the honor to witness an outstanding interview between Makeba and these soccer players, where an exciting conversation sparked interest in how the poet-athletes can explore the meaning of diversity and equity.
We continued the day with a showcase and a live performance of student’s poems. Finally, this amazing family day ended up with a youth panel facilitated by the coach interns. The last hour of the camp successfully finished with an amazing Red Bulls session.
As a summer VISTA, being in my first summer virtual camp, I had so much fun, memorable experiences, and most importantly, I built connections that I can now call a big America SCORES family.
From day one, the team created an environment that not only made me feel already part of the family, but they made me feel accepted regardless of my inexperience or lack of knowledge on many topics.
As a new member of the team, I had many doubts about my contributions to developing memorable memories for the students. However, every single coach and team member from this organization helped me, but most importantly, helped the poet-athletes grow into critical thinkers, become committed, and overall, better individuals for this society through their encouragement and guidance.
I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be part of something that cannot be explained with words, but it should be experienced like I had the privilege to experience it. Furthermore, the students have built a community that was shown in every session. It was expressed through their constant encouragement to others, acceptance of diversity between their peers, and commitment to themselves as to others.
This summer, ASNY used RESPECT as their core value. For me, one of the most important values a human being can have is respect for themselves and others. The student’s insight on each conversation on every session is an example of it. More than that, it shows what their coaches have implanted in them through their hard work of teaching the poet-athletes the importance of changing the world by changing yourself first.
Every week, the students started conversations that sparked many incredible and insightful poems that were expressed every Wednesday and Friday. Week one was all about racial justice; on week two, we talked about gender equity; week three LGBTQ + inclusion, and lastly, week four was about self-identity. Regardless of one’s different opinions and identities, together, we were able to respect other thoughts and create art, and opinions in a meaningful way.