Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40
w i l d w o o d a t h l e t i c s
by Courtney O’Connor, COMMUNICATIONS & DESIGN MANAGER
Building Bridges: Upper School and 5th Grade Athletes Combine Forces
New mentorship program brings together upper
Alongside new 5th grade sports like volleyball and basketball, Wildwood has introduced a new mentorship program that brings together upper school and elementary students. Now, 11th and 12th graders at Wildwood are working with 5th graders in athletics, coaching them and offering up their years of athletic experience and familiarity with the Wildwood ethos. “We’ve been working on ways to thoughtfully and intentionally build bridges between the two campus’ athletics programs,” says Wildwood Director of Athletics Billy DuMone. “By designating three signature sports [soccer, volleyball, and basketball], we’ve created a through-line for 5th through 12th grade athletes.” This plan, Billy explains, allows younger Wildwood athletes to build their skill set in a particular sport while boosting their confidence during their transition from 5th grade to the middle and upper campus. After establishing the three signature sports, the athletics department seized the opportunity to connect the two campuses further by creating the new mentorship program. “It’s been a rewarding experience for upper school students to work with the younger kids,” says Ashley Webster, Wildwood P.E.
school and elementary students.
Our Wildwood /Winter 2017 18/19
teacher and elementary school basketball coach. “The juniors and seniors make an important
We’ve been working on ways to thoughtfully and intentionally build bridges between the two campus’ athletics programs.
impression on the 5th graders, and at the same time, they’re learning about the intricacies of coaching. Aspects such as game management and statistics recording improve their knowledge of the sport as well. It’s a win-win for everyone.” On her first day as an assistant coach for 5th grade girls volleyball, 11th grader Kayla G. was feeling energized. “Volleyball is hands-down my favorite sport,” Kayla says. “I love
working with the younger students. So when Billy approached me with the idea of coaching, I was really excited.” From the get-go, she recognized the unique chance to give back to her school. “I went to Wildwood elementary and loved it there,” she exclaims. “Knowing I get to share my experience with elementary kids feels great. It’s a perfect opportunity.”
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