Rugby ATL and Marietta City Schools Drive Leadership Development Through Sport
[Marietta, Georgia]- This fall semester, Rugby ATL and its partners took action to create opportunities for individual advancement and educational resources in our underserved communities. The plan was to execute a student enrichment program that focused on value-based, team interactives and infuse it into five different after school programs across the Marietta City School District.
The mission was to create an inclusive, and friendly environment led by consistent role models from outside of the students homes and classrooms. The primary goal was to ensure that all of the students were given another opportunity to develop healthy relationships with their peers, while also benefiting from the physical and physiological effects of participating in team sports.
"We want to help develop people, and create leaders in the community. Teams can create a sense of unity amongst peers, and we hope the students can learn the game while applying the PACE core-values (People Development, Accountability, Create Change, Execution) into their daily lives," said Rugby ATL Academy Director, Neethling Gericke.
Participants were led by a coaching staff led by players from Major League Rugby, the USA Women's National Team, and Professional Women's 7s Rugby. Students had the unique opportunity of learning positive leadership qualities and rugby skills from some of the best players in the country. The fun, exciting and welcoming environment that resulted from this, was an added bonus for everyone involved.
"Having MLR work with our Marietta Community School's afterschool students has been an excellent addition to our ASP program. It allows students to engage in physical activity in a safe and fun environment while teaching them sportsmanship and leadership. We look forward to continuing this partnership into the spring semester," said Delores Wiley ASP/BSP and Camp Program Coordinator for Marietta City Schools.
After just ten weeks of programming, over 250 students from Mission 1:27, Lockheed, AL Burruss, and Dunleith Elementary Schools worked together to demonstrate how the PACE values can help you become a good leader and teammate, but also how much fun playing a new sport with your friends can be.
In fact, there was an overall 72% increase in participation, including back-to-back weeks where Dunleith Elementary recorded weekly highs of 70+ students in the session.
Rugby ATL along with program partners, SA White Oil Company, Spratlin & Son Construction, Walton Communities, and Fox Dogs, will be providing students with bookbags, notebooks and new athletic gear for their 2022 academic semesters and after school programs.
"What we need most coming out of this pandemic are opportunities for kids in our community to step away from screens, connect with each other again and have some good, old-fashioned fun," said Kim Gresh, President and CEO of SA White Oil Company. "Rugby ATL's Mission 1:27 program has proven to be a great way for our kids to do just that by learning a new sport, as well as invaluable leadership and teamwork skills. As an alumna of the Marietta school system, I am so proud to sponsor this program and excited by its success and growth
Rugby ATL and its partners will double down on their support for the development of the community, with plans to increase to 10+ after school programs next spring and summer. The 2022 programs will focus on coaching the fundamentals of rugby, but more importantly, on how the crucial elements of education, teamwork, leadership, and communication carry over into all other aspects of our lives.
Rugby ATL entered Major League Rugby in 2018 and began to play and influence the community through their commitment to their PACE core values. (People Development, Accountability, Creating Change & Execution).
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