one of the first paid youth positions i held was as a soccer coach with skyhawk’s sports academy in washington state…(it was a summer sports camp organization)…
i was nineteen when i first started working with this organization, and at the time…i didn’t know jack about working with kids…green as could be…a complete and total rookie!
looking back, i realize that this was a great place to start what has now become a life-long career for me, what has become my profession…honestly, i owe a lot to this organization and to the people i worked with during those summers (4)…it was soooooo influential for me–it still impacts my work today…more than 20 years later!!!
i had played soccer since i was five, i loved it, so this job was fun for that reason and also because i worked with a lot of guys i played soccer with in high school…i worked with quite a few friends…jeff, tuan, “ghandi”, john, hugh, ben and others–guys who loved soccer and loved the job! we would travel around the state together, lead soccer camps (to kids aged 5-12 years old), scrimmage after camp times, and hang-out…what more could you ask for in a job?! working here (6 hours a day, 5 days a week), i learned how to motivate, inspire, encourage, train, coach, listen and talk to kids…i also learned a lot of great games and stories and “how to tell stories” (each day after lunch, the camp director would tell crazy-funny stories to the entire camp of kids–anywhere from 20-100 kids–keeping their attention and entertaining them for up to 30 minutes–so great)!!!
of all the things i learned working here, the most important was “the attitude you bring to the job”…i still remember the first time i met the vice president of skyhawk’s…his name was dave…and he led us in some games and drills (just like he would do if he were leading a group of kids) and he was extremely positive, enthusiastic and engaging…and in leading us in that way, he was teaching us about the energy and enthusiasm that he (and the organization) expected us to bring to camp each and every day…
and he asked us, “where are you, on a scale of 1-10, today?!” (ten being the highest, best/most positive attitude you can have)…”do you have a ‘ten attitude’???”…the lesson here was simple…your attitude matters; it is vitally important to how you relate, motivate and coach these young people–it is a choice, choose to be a ten!!!
further reading: if you have an interest in this kind of thing, attitude and motivation…you should check out the book in the side-bar titled, “make the big time where you are” by frosty westering…one of the most successful college football coaches (ever) and a great human being!