Finishing my CSL opportunity at Homework "n" Hoops (HnH) tonight I have learned a lot in interacting with this program. This was an incredible opportunity and it was awesome to give back to the community and impact the lives of youth positively as a gym leader.
Throughout my experience with the program there were a lot of connections that I made to the class material. The first observation being on how HnH was a non-profit organization and therefore was left out of the organized sport and privatization of sport movement that has been happening in our country. This was shown in the lack of materials due to the program being free. All of the gym items fit into a 6*4*3 ft box and was mainly filled with an assortment of balls, plus the gym space was not very big. This led to limitation in what activities could be done in gym.
However the activities that were done were typically more unstructured ones and more participation and enjoyment was found through these unstructured ones rather than more structured ones like soccer. For instance just tonight in Steal the bone, I think we had the highest attendance yet in kids, and female youth attendees. When some of the more regular attendees asked to switch to soccer after a while the majority of the kids rejected the idea and wanted to keep playing Steal the Bone. It's clear the less structured an activity is the more control youth feel that they have, and the more they enjoy the sport or physical activity.
Another huge observation was the importance of gender in participation in gym time in HnH. Most of the time it ended up being mostly males in the gym. The gender chapter relates that sports are typically male centered, identified, and dominated. In these respects the males often feel that they have a priority in sport and eventually females become invaders if they do participate. In an odd back and forth way, the girls don't participate and gain new skills and interests in sport, and then because their interests and skills are limited they don't have opportunities to participate at all. I feel this is may have been what happened for a lot of the female youth at HnH as they would either visit the game room or do science projects instead of coming and visiting me in the gym.
More incredible was the reaction of the women who did come to gym, they eventually adapted to the play of the boys in becoming more aggressive and showing that they had the "guts" to participate too. Steal the bone today had probably the most girls attendance I have seen in gym time yet and after a few rounds they eventually became as aggressive, if not more aggressive then the boys were at the beginning of play. The game continued to escalate until we had a kid get run over b y a mentor.
Racial influences also were shown greatly by the lack of Caucasian participants in HnH. I feel that the combination of race and social class shows that maybe the minorities need a program like HnH that is free, while their white counterparts have more opportunities in privatized sports. Getting to meet a lot of the families through family fun night a couple of weeks ago showed that in most of the families the kids become the translators to talk to adults as the parents can't speak English well.
Overall there were even more connections to class material but these seemed to be a main few. Over my time with this program I was reminded a lot of a similar program that I participated in my youth. Though it was not free and had employees there were many similarities in the autonomy aspect and children getting to choose where they go. I feel that HnH could develop a lot more into something like that but as it is not as functional as it could be. The main focus is on the development of the kids and I feel that physical activity in gym time can help with this development even more. Yet with the autonomy of the youth in choosing what they do, they are able to comply with typical ideologies that are in the world, rather than break them through possibly mandatory physical activity time. As it is gym time was actually cancelled for two weeks (limiting hours to volunteer) showing the true importance of physical activity to the program. True the program focuses much more on the homework then the hoops portion of the program and only 30 min is delegated to leisure time, and I know that the program is trying to get minorities out of the thinking that they can't go anywhere academically in life, but I feel the program still has a lot of growing to do to really make an impact in the futures of these youth.
It was very interesting to have my eyes opened to many happenings of the social world through this class and then to see them in action in a setting that I would normally not encounter. I feel that this CSL definitely enhanced my learning of the material.