Logan Cioffi, Grade 12
This past summer I spent five weeks working with the middle school Leadership Academy in the Bronx hosted by PowerPlay NYC. This program allowed me to create a connection with many girls from all types of backgrounds.Through the program our bond grew stronger as we shared our experiences and tried new things together. The strongest bond came from our shared love and dedication to sport.
The bonding started the first day I arrived. We were sitting in a circle and I said a few things to introduce myself. “My name is Logan, I live in Brooklyn, I love my dog, and I run track and field and cross country.” Immediately after that meeting one of the girls at the academy approached me and said “I like you.” I was shocked that this had happened so soon so I asked “why?” “Because you run track,” she responded. Immediately I felt more comfortable in this new environment and realized even though I was new and older than the girls, a bond would be able to be made purely from our common interest in sport. As the week went on I slowly got to know more girls and connected with their sport experiences too. One girl had hurt herself during her sport, another girl had a strong determination to improve in her sport, and a few girls hadn’t done many sports before but were willing to try new things. These were all experiences that I too had gone through in my own sport. Getting to share how I handled them and watching how these young leaders were pushing themselves taught me alot.
I not only learned about these girls through their sport experiences but I also got to learn about them through sharing their personal experiences. Most notably was the time we each put three fears in a hat and went around revealing who said them and why. Girls shared deep and intimate stories of why they feared things and it was comforting to be able to know that not only do these girls go through similar experiences me, but I also got to see how it was helpful for them to know that they are not alone in their fears.
One of the nicest parts of the program was seeing the girls get excited about new activities that were offered by PowerPlay NYC. In the beginning of the program the girls were tasked with learning how to fence. Most had never tried it before, but were excited to put on the funny suits and test out the foils (the name of the fencing swords). It was refreshing to see the enjoyment these girls were getting from trying something new.
The experiences provided by the Leadership Academy brought smiles to the girls faces and seeing those brought a smile to mine. From this program, I took away feeling more confident in my role as a leader and a motivator and am excited to continue to use these skills in the future. Watching the girls be more open to knew things makes me feel confident that they have bright futures ahead.