October is PRCA month here at Play Rugby USA! Founded in late 2010, our Play Rugby California (PRCA) program has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three years. The program, run by a dedicated staff of three plus YDMs, has served over 4,500 students since their founding. Programming is currently run in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, which includes San Francisco and Richmond.
The Los Angeles program was the original flagship program, and enters its third year projecting to serve 1,500 children this school year. This is a 25% increase over 2012-2013's 1,212 children. They have served over 4,000 inner-city children since their founding though partnerships with Beyond the Bell, After School All-Stars, LA's Best, Sheriff's Youth Academies League, Hollywood Schoolhouse, and Emerson Middle School. Their program growth has largely been due to the support of the LA84 Foundation, which has enabled this program to grow and flourish. The Los Angeles program has also held the Los Angeles Rugby Cup 2 years running now. The LA Rugby Cup has grown from 18 teams in its first year to 32 teams this year!
In the Northern part of the state, last year saw the start of our Bay Area program. In its short history this program has served 500 children from 19 different area schools. They are also excited to be expanding partnerships this Fall with YMCA of San Francisco, YMCA of the East Bay, and the Bay Area Community Response (BACR).
PRCA growth is in large part thanks to the financial support of corporate and private partners, including HSBC, the Foundation for Global Sports Development, the William Campbell Foundation, Greg and Noreen Basso, Charles Lydon, Gleason Family Foundation, Cindy Basso, and BritWeek.
The following corporate partners also provided in kind contributions to help support the program: Aramark, Canterbury, Nathan Travers of the Up and Under Pub, SOS Rehydration, and Sports Basement.
Finally, the following individuals have devoted expertise to Play Rugby California on an organizational level statewide in helping ensure its sustained growth: Cindy Basso, Tom Billups, Malcolm Booth, Charles Cockerton, Simon Eliot, Preston Gordon, Jo Healey, Stuart Keirle, David King, Kevin Sullivan, as well as the folks at the Oakland Warthogs, Up2Us, Coach Across America, and Coaching Corps.
With such great numbers and some awesome outcomes, we are all excited to see what the PRCA team accomplishes this year! Stay tuned to our website and social media for more information all month on their amazing efforts and how you can get involved and help us to "Develop Youth Through Rugby"!
For photos of this program in action, you can visit our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/play_rugby_usa/collections/72157629177869752/
Play Rugby USA’s
Sports Leadership Academy Program Vision
Learn to Go Forward
Play Rugby USA’s (PRUSA) program mission is “Developing Youth through Rugby.” PRUSA’s innovative Sports Leadership Academy (SLA) model is intentionally designed to use teamwork to create a “Culture of Achievement” in which participants “Learn to Go Forward.” PRUSA’s SLA cleverly infuses character education into rugby, other non-traditional sports, health, arts, academic and community development programming to create a fun, holistic and asset-based program. Our SLA operates through a consistent, comprehensive curriculum framework delivered collaboratively with the community that is designed to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed socially, emotionally and academically in the 21st Century.
Strive to always improve, experience growth, and to never give up.
The Go Forward approach at the SLA aspires to empower youth to achieve wellness and success. PRUSA is dedicated to instill the unique aspects of rugby, which are:
- Its egalitarian structure where everyone defends, passes, runs, and scores
- Its player centered nature that promotes independent decision-making
- The respect, integrity and commitment to team which rugby players embrace and promote while developing camaraderie.
These aspects of rugby provide all individuals, regardless of ability, gender, race, ethnicity, with an opportunity to participate, and become part of a team. They become positive agents of change in the SLA program by supporting each other, developing values, learning from mistakes, and committing themselves to overcome adversity, Go Forward and experience success. Thus, the SLA aspires to empower beneficiaries around our 4 C’s:
1. Character: to learn the skills and techniques essential to self-leadership;
2. Conditioning: to improve physical conditioning through fun and competitive sport and exercise;
3. Commitment: to embrace an academic commitment and passion for learning through student-centered activities;
4. Community: to strengthen communities through promoting non-cognitive skills.
The Go Forward approach is an outlook and set of skills that promote healthy decisions on and off the pitch. A fundamental aspect of the Go Forward approach is to accept the proposition that every individual has an intrinsic capacity to develop and strengthen skills in 3 key areas: Cognitive Skills (Academic), Non-Cognitive Skills (Social and Emotional), and Physical skills. Development of these intelligences is not a passive process; it is an active and ongoing process. Furthermore, it requires a healthy acceptance of failure.
Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset is at the core of the Go Forward approach. The Go Forward approach requires an understanding that development is a combination of believing that ability can be improved over time and that throughout the process of refining the skills to increase ability, failure will occur.
Another tenet of the Go Forward approach is a commitment to achieving the outcome by exerting 100% effort. The inevitability of failure is daunting to most and paralyzing to some. The Go Forward approach requires a mindset that simultaneously embraces failure and a commitment to continue with the process until the outcome is achieved. This dogged determination is known in youth development literature as Grit. We aspire to empower our participants to develop a gritty growth outlook on life or a Go Forward mentality.
The Go Forward approach is an attitude and a set of skills. Therefore, the Go Forward approach is underpinned & transmitted through three core programming elements: 1) a coordinated series of activities for youth to develop skills (intentional programing); 2) relationships with caring YDM’s that embrace the attitude and practice the skills (vital connections); 3) a culture that provides opportunity to practice the skills and exhibit the attitude (culture of achievement). These components appear in all PRUSA programs, however, the SLA presents a unique opportunity to coordinate every aspect of the program to deliver the most comprehensive set of skills for youth, school communities and neighborhood communities.