lacrosse

Pingry's Luke and Olivia pass on the LtN Tradition

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Liv and I were the co-leaders of the Lacrosse the Nations Club at Pingry. We both recently graduated and were the captains of our respective lacrosse teams and have been involved with LtN since our freshman/ sophomore years at Pingry. We have greatly enjoyed leading the club over this past year. Our LtN activities occur locally during the fall and with fundraising in the spring.

This past fall, Liv and I designed and ran 2 half-day events with the Elizabethport Presbyterian Center. The first event involved 25 middle school children coming to Pingry for a lacrosse clinic designed and run by us with assistance from a bunch of our lacrosse teammates. The subsequent event was held at Eport’s Preschool where the Pingry LtN Club ran arts and crafts activities in four classrooms with 40-45 young kids.

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To support the international arm of the LtN organization, we ran two fundraisers: one in late Jan/Feb selling LtN t-shirts and the second in late Apr/May selling Pingry bleacher seat cushions. We raised just over $3000 to support Lacrosse the Nations.

We will miss the Pingry LtN club but have left it in good hands.

Luke

Pingry High School’s 2019 LtN Club Members.

Pingry High School’s 2019 LtN Club Members.

Our First LtN Experiences: Summer Interns Talk

Only a short two weeks ago, we landed in Bocas del Toro ready to learn, experience and assist in all aspects of LtN programs. So far, it’s been awesome. From how to organize practice plans to understanding the value of community engagement and trust, our interns have seen so much. We spend our mornings going on runs along the water, our days with kids at practice and the local school, and our nights binging Netflix together and learning how to cook for a house of 6. By the time we reach the weekend, we are grateful for the time to explore the islands, bike around town, and catch up on some Z’s. Being able to bounce new program ideas off of each other has brought us many laughs and much learning. Here are our initial reactions of LtN in Bocas and what we are excited for over the next couple months...


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Gunnar: “I’m excited to see the day-to-day of living and working here. From how to effectively get in touch with the community and help serve their needs to how a nonprofit operates, all elements are important to me - no matter how little.”

Will: “As the primary intern in charge of fundraising, I am working on growing our LtN network this summer. Learning more about how LtN connects various teams and programs to grow the game has been a really cool experience. I am blown away by how invested our supporters are in our mission and by the interest I have seen from those wanting to get involved.”

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Jordan: “In my first two weeks I have seen how lacrosse extends beyond the field and brings joy, structure, and learning to kids. For example, one of our players was awarded his very own lacrosse stick due to showing respect, teamwork, and consistent effort at practice. His face lit up! Knowing the influence this sport can have on so many lives makes me really pumped for this summer.”

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Rob: “The positive attitudes of kids and their desire to learn each and every day has really been inspiring. Not only do they exemplify the impact that LtN’s programs can have on a community, but the positivity and engagement of the kids open the door for further growth. As the lead intern for our Community Outreach element, I am excited to work with the community and continue mutually beneficial work here in Panama.” 

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Rachel: “Seeing the passion that our young players have for the sport makes me even more excited to share my love of the game with them and continue to grow the sport through LtN.

Program Director, Maria: “The kids at practice are so helpful and patient with me as I begin to develop my Spanish skills that it makes every day that much more fun! I am truly learning virtually every minute of every day.” 





A Letter of Thanks: Will Cogan on his Trip to Panama

My name is Will Cogan and I am a senior defenseman at Christopher Newport University. A few weeks ago, I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Bocas del Toro, Panama to work with kids and spread the game that I love. I did this with teammates and members of the Washington & Lee men’s and women’s lacrosse team.

Will and CNU teammate, Miles, coaching some beach lax in Bocas.

Will and CNU teammate, Miles, coaching some beach lax in Bocas.

This experience is something that I will never forget. In my 15 years of playing lacrosse, this was by far the most rewarding, humbling, and unforgettable experience I have had in the game of lacrosse. Each day we woke up with the opportunity to positively impact high schoolers and young kids with the game that we love so much. Knowing that every day would give us an opportunity to teach a game that these kids have never seen before seemed challenging at first, but once we had the stick in our hands it was just like any other day for us. We got to teach kids how to catch, throw, scoop ground balls, and even fun games like hungry hungry hippo. Whether it was at the local high school or at the Give & Surf community center on the beach it was a week filled with smiles, laughs, and a whole lot of fun.

Will testing out his goalie skills alongside fellow volunteer and W&L Women's Coach, Erica.

Will testing out his goalie skills alongside fellow volunteer and W&L Women's Coach, Erica.

I want to express how thankful I am of the Lacrosse the Nations staff (Caroline and Brooke) and the Give & Surf staff (Drew and Taylor) for giving us such an amazing experience. Drew and Taylor taught us so much about the communities of Bocas and Bastimentos, and as took us on many adventures that I will never forget. Brooke and Caroline showed us that you do not need to speak the same language in order to connect with young kids and teach the game that we love.

I hope that LtN can continue to grow their programs in Bocas del Toro, and that it remains a place to go for years to come. I STRONGLY encourage any lacrosse player, coach, or fan to go on a trip with Lacrosse the Nations, to experience what its like to give back to a sport that has given us so much. Thank you LtN and Give & Surf.

 

- Will Cogan

CNU Mens Lacrosse '19

Deportistas - One Year in the Making!

Happy International Women’s Day 2018 from our deportistas (female athletes) in Nicaragua!

Last International Women’s Day, LtN had just started up its girls-only program down in Nicaragua - spurred by the addition of boys’ equipment to our co-ed practices, the presence of a female program director and strong female coach, Darien, along with a donation of women’s equipment from Princeton Lacrosse.

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Our girls-only program started out with former program director, Brooke Wilson, spending time at Chiquilistagua public school during recess. After teaching English class in the school, Brooke would bring out the donated women’s equipment to pass around with anyone who showed interest. In our first blog post about starting the program, Brooke reflected on her efforts.

The creation of a women’s program will take some time. Interest for the sport needs to grow organically – similarly to how we started our co-ed programs years back. I spend time at Chiquilistagua on Monday and Thursday afternoons, so that girls can join during recess or come outside of the co-ed practice time to receive girl-specific instruction. Right now, we have five girls who have been attending outside of co-ed participants, with new ones showing interest.

And show interest they did! Looking back a year from today, we have so many moments to attribute the establishment of the current girls’ program to…

Thanks to three groups of amazing female players coming down this past summer (shout out to Richmond Women’s Lacrosse, Code Lacrosse, and CNU Women’s Lacrosse), we were able to recruit new players for the program, give one-on-one instruction in a practice setting, and show the girls how fun lacrosse can be. The ability of the U.S. women’s players from our summer groups to connect with, teach, and serve as role models for our young girls became the catalyst for the program’s launch.

"I love being a coach because I enjoy spending time with the girls and getting to know each one of them. I love seeing how excited they are to play lacrosse! I hope the program continues growing and that we can expand to other schools."

"I love being a coach because I enjoy spending time with the girls and getting to know each one of them. I love seeing how excited they are to play lacrosse! I hope the program continues growing and that we can expand to other schools."

Additionally, at the close of last summer, Darien, along with our other Nicaraguan coaches, received comprehensive coaching training from STICK WITH IT! Lacrosse, who visited LtN’s sites in early September. Thanks to Stick With It’s training program, Coach Darien was equipped with more drills, expanded leadership skills, and heightened confidence as she has stepped up into the head coaching role.

This year, the program now runs full force! Instead of impromptu recess sessions, the girls formally practice three times a week, with an hour-long practice before school on Monday mornings. With 28 girls attending each week, Darien leads practices with Program Director, Susan Hyman as her assistant. LtN’s girls-only program not only provides these young ladies with their own space to play, learn, and develop life skills; it will also, hopefully, begin to provide them with sessions from a guest speaker this season!

Peace Corps member and former lacrosse player, Brynn Miller, is looking to feature Peace Corps’ curriculum focusing on female empowerment within Nicaragua’s machismo culture. Brynn approached LtN when looking for a platform to introduce her curriculum, expressing that a sport-focused environment is an ideal space to hold discussions concerning self-confidence and positive relationships with others. The aim will be to incorporate this curriculum into Coach Darien’s training, in order for these discussions to continue in our practices for years to come.

As you can see, LtN has a lot to be celebrating on this International Women’s Day! The addition of our girls-only programming has expanded LtN’s reach and continues to spread the impact sport is having on our youth.

LtN Programs in Charlottesville Flourish Thanks to LtN Club at UVA

Lacrosse the Nations at the University of Virginia started off strong this past August with the executive board recruiting over 15 new members to join the club. Our efforts for the semester focused on balancing between fundraising for the annual LtN Cup and youth volunteering efforts, namely the recurring six-week long lacrosse program held at the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville on Cherry Avenue. Because of the success of the Cherry Avenue program in past years, and with the new influx of volunteer members, a new program was extended to the Boys and Girls Club at Jouett Middle School through outreach with their program director. From the first week of October to the week before Thanksgiving, around four to five volunteers traveled to each Boys and Girls Club every week - Cherry Avenue on Tuesdays, Jouett on Fridays. For a time frame about an hour and a half, our volunteer coaches focused on getting to know the kids that frequently attended the program, while teaching them basic lacrosse skills, ultimately providing a new sport-related platform that allowed them to build their individual characters. Our Club at UVA plans to repeat this same six-week program in the spring of 2018, at both Boys and Girls Clubs, with hopes of adding multiple pop-up clinics during the spring that would be open to all Charlottesville youth community members. 

 

In volunteering at the Clubs, we also realized that the equipment the Clubs had on hand were in pretty rough shape - some sticks had broken heads, others had ancient mesh. Lacrosse the Nations has generously offered to help with providing new sticks to replace these old and worn-down sticks that the Boys and Girls Club currently has in supply.

 

Fundraising for the LtN Cup within our Club at UVA was done primarily through individual efforts - and proved to be an amazingly successful endeavor. Of the over $1300 raised, the majority of what was raised came from individual members’ outreach to family, friends, and members of the lacrosse community. In addition to these individual efforts, a lump amount of $500 was also contributed through older funds raised from a 5k race and several student restaurant nights hosted by LtN at UVA. We hope to expand our fundraising to involve the club men and women’s lacrosse teams at UVA, and even local high school teams, in order to further solidify the Charlottesville lacrosse community.

 

Future plans for our Club, other than continuing our current volunteering and fundraising efforts, also include promotional and educational events to not only promote our organization, but to also educate UVA students on how to involve themselves in international service in an effective and worthwhile manner. Whether this is accomplished through an open seminar, guest speakers, or a university-wide presentation, we hope that our club can prove to not only be a fundamental piece of the international Lacrosse the Nations presence, but also a model for other college organizations with a focus on local and international service.

Player Spotlight: Guissell

Meet this month's spotlight player, Guissell! Guissell started playing lacrosse in Nicaragua alongside her older brother, Ariel, three years ago. Guissell is one of our most dedicated players. Despite her brother's inability to attend practices due to his university commitments, Guissell has attended close to every practice this past year. Guissell constantly exhibits a love for the game. She actively asks to help coach new players and is the first one to put on her equipment and jump on the field. Guissell plans to attend university after graduating high school this year. 

Age: 16

Year in school: 11th grade

Favorite Class: Physics

Favorite part of Lacrosse: Learning new drills and activities at practice

Something you have learned from lacrosse: "I've learned that if you respect your teammates they will in turn give you respect."