Urban Initiatives 5th-8th graders kicked off this school year with an inspiring show of leadership at the first 2013-2014 Take the Lead Retreat! The weekend before the Work to Play Fall Season began, the Take the Lead Team Captains came together to encourage and challenge each other as leaders in the areas of teamwork and physical activity. These Team Captains take their role as examples and leaders on the Work to Play team seriously, and to prove it, they showed up ready not just to talk about teamwork, but to put it into practice as they became one team from all around Chicago.
On September 7th at Greene Elementary School, these middle schoolers got the most out of their Saturday, starting off with a healthy breakfast where they met new friends and reunited with friends and teammates from last year. After breakfast, Coach Cris and Coach Brendan had the privilege of meeting with the parents of the Team Captains while the students got to know each other better with some active warm-up games.
Of course, it would not be an Urban Initiatives Take the Lead Retreat without a fast-paced soccer tournament! Before and after the tournament, the Team Captains learned to take their pulse and calculate their resting and target heart rate. This made it all the more fun as Team Captains really got their hearts pounding during the soccer games and then were able to see exactly how hard their hearts were working and what it takes to ensure a healthy heart.
The Urban Initiatives coaches could not help but be proud of each Team Captain as they worked together for the rest of the day to overcome challenges as a team. Through a variety of games, tasks, challenges, and obstacle courses, the Team Captains learned that leadership and teamwork depend on a captain’s ability to trust and be trustworthy, communicate effectively, and lead with consideration and courage.
Throughout the day, Team Captains accomplished two very important things: 1. They realized their strong leadership abilities, and 2. they had lots of fun as they worked together as a team. One Team Captain even told Coach Brendan, “I don’t want this day to end!”
Urban Initiatives would like to thank the many people who were involved and helped make this day possible. Thank you to Greene Elementary School and Principal Heidkamp for donating their space. We are so grateful to Jamie Hitch from the Urban Initiatives Junior Board who volunteered his Saturday to coach. Most of all, thank you to the Team Captains and their families for dedicating themselves to positive leadership on the Work to Play team and in the Urban Initiatives team!