Please Think of ABGC as You Shop This Holiday Season

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Did you know your holiday dollars can serve double-duty?  

If you’re going to be using Amazon this month please take a moment and name ABGC as your AmazonSmile designated charity.  Your gift giving can also give a gift to the thousands of Annandale youth sponsored by our program each year.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to ABGC programs.

How do you shop on Amazon Smile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

How do I select ABGC when shopping on AmazonSmile?

 On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select Annandale Boys and Girls Club (ABGC) from the non-profit menu of choices to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

 Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Your AmazonSmile donations help pay for ABGC’s many community programs and thousands of scholarships we offer each season to qualified families.

 

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ABGC’s Champions of Character

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So many wonderful people have passed through our doors at the Annandale Boys & Girls Club over the decades – parents, players, coaches and volunteers.  While they all deserve our thanks and gratitude for their commitment to Annandale’s youth, there is a special group that has earned extra kudos this year.  They are the 2016 Fairfax County Champions of Character.

We are so thrilled to have each of these honorees represent ABGC and want you to meet them too:

Parents: Daniele and Diana Albergottie

 It takes a lot of time, energy, patience and love to be the parent of a youth athlete these days.  Daniele and Diana Albergottie have all of that times 4! They’ve volunteered, coached, and been program commissioners during the many years their four sons participated in ABGC athletics. Diana even played at ABGC in her youth, in both the “house” and travel league programs.  Here is a brief excerpt from their nomination letter:

“Daniele and Diana raised four sons, the oldest now 22 years old in college and the youngest is 13 years old playing on an ABGC U16 Boys Team. All of the kids exhibit the same respect to all persons, regardless of their gender, race, or religion. They began coaching or assisting with soccer teams 17 years ago, and have been active in the soccer teams of all their sons. In addition to coaching or administrative duties, they have also insured that all the players had rides to games and exhibited good conduct. Both Daniele & Diana have stated to their teams to always be respectful, play a “clean game”, and that they would rather forfeit a game than play, if they thought the team was exhibiting poor sportsmanship.

 In addition to coaching or administrating multiple teams, Daniele and Diana volunteered with ABGC whenever anything was needed. They would ref, help with end of season soccer festivals, stuff “goodie bags” for soccer festivals, serve at the ABGC office to translate to individuals that speak Spanish, and even help move “stuff” when the ABGC office moved to its Annandale Rd. location. They are always friendly and welcoming to everyone. In short, they have provided invaluable service to ABGC.”

Coach: Khaled Fayyad

For many parents, turning their young athletes over to the hands of a youth coach they’ve probably never even met can be a difficult experience.  Is the coach a “screamer”? Will he/she nurture the athletes’ love for the sport or scare them away?  The fact that 70% of kids quit youth sports by the age of 13 shows there is a lot of work to be done to improve the youth experience…and coaches are a key component.  At ABGC we are so proud of our coaches and Khaled Fayyed’s selection as a Champion of Character just tells the world what we here at Annandale, already know.  Coaches like Coach K make a difference in the lives of so many young players.

“Coach K changed the way that I, as a skeptical parent, view travel soccer.  He changed the way my daughter views the game of soccer.  And, in a broader sense, he changed the way an entire team of 13-year-old girls view the world.  Yes, Coach K has had that much positive impact on all of our lives.  For Coach K, the goal was never to win.  “If you play to the best of your abilities, winning will take care of itself,” he repeatedly reminded the girls.  He was right, of course. 

 Perhaps the essence of who Coach K is, is most indicative by what he represents above all else: good sportsmanship.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Ask the players and coaches from the other teams, who the past two years in a row nominated and awarded Coach K and his United team the “ODSL Travel Soccer Randy Rawls Sportsmanship Award.”  This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident two years in a row.  This is a coach who, uniquely, gets the essence of what it means to be a kind coach.  Above all else, Coach K stressed the moral and ethical part of playing hard — never dirty. 

 To be quite honest, Coach K probably spends as much time talking to the girls about the “right” things to do in life as he did talking to them about soccer. He reminded the girls that whatever they do — and wherever they go — the most important thing in life is to always be kind.  Coach K lives by these very words.  And it got me to thinking what the “K” in Coach K’s last name really stands for:  Kindness.”

Player: Virginia Miller

 Team Captain

Annandale United FC Pride U14 Girls NPL/EDP Soccer Team

Between school, clubs, athletics, family and community, our young athletes have very full lives, indeed.  Yet so many, like Annandale’s Virginia Miller, greet each challenge with grace and enthusiasm.  Congratulations to Virginia for her leadership both on and off the soccer field.

“Virginia is not only the team captain for the Annandale United FC Pride soccer team, however she is youth leader in the community.  Over the past two years with AUFC she has demonstrated leadership on and off the field with exemplary unselfishness.  Even with the stress of leading a top ten state ranked soccer team, she finds time to support those in need. Virginia constantly strives to help others through her volunteer efforts and empowering others to join the cause.  She is integral part of the AUFC Pride’s annual food drive events, ‘Kicks for Cans’ and ‘Strive for Five’. She works tirelessly as an on-field mentor, before her own practices, building inspiration and love for the game for younger soccer enthusiasts.

 Most impressively, Virginia recently took it upon herself and initiated the ‘Kelly Strong’ childhood cancer awareness and support effort in Annandale.  Leading her teammates with passionate motivation, she launched an awareness effort to help fight childhood cancer. With a heavy heart she and her teammates energetically played with ‘Kelly Strong’ bands to support her best friend and fellow soccer enthusiast during her ongoing battle with cancer. Virginia is not only an exceptional soccer athlete; she is model young citizen for our community. I eagerly anticipate her continual development as strong leader and model for other young women. She is truly a Champion of Character.”

Player: Bryan Zambrana

 Team Captain

Annandale United U18 Boys 1999 Travel Soccer Team

 Bryan Zambrana has played soccer for 7 years. In addition to being a standout player and captain of the Annandale U18 boys travel soccer team, Bryan has gone out of his way to share his love of the sport with younger players.  Not satisfied with just improving his own play, Bryan also helps at practices with Annandale’s younger teams, serving as a role model and mentor.  Bryan is a senior at Annandale High School. Here is what Bryan’s coaches say about his leadership:

“Bryan has been with the club since he was a young boy, and developed into a fine young man.  He was a shy lad who has grown into a determined captain and leader.  Bryan often attends other teams’ practices to improve and stays late to work on skills and fitness.

 Bryan is a central midfielder who holds the ball up well and is the start of a solid attack, playing one and two touch. He is very coachable and has also become a coach and mentor to younger players in the club, often arriving early at practice to work with younger players.

Bryan will graduate this year from Annandale HS and is currently looking at playing overseas in Spain or collegiately in Virginia.”

Bryan’s positive attitude, leadership, love of the sport and commitment to his team are just a few of the reasons, we’re so proud he’s been chosen as a Fairfax County Champion of Character.

The Fairfax County Champions of Character ceremony will be held October 25th at 6 pm at the Fairfax County Government Center and ABGC can’t wait to celebrate all of our winners.

ABGC Basketball Picture Day – Saturday, January 23rd

 

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It’s that time of the year when ABGC basketball teams pose for their team and individual pictures.  ABGC is happy to announce this year’s photographer, Annandale’s Briar Creek Photography, has a terrific package of items for families to help remember their 2016 basketball season.

 

Please check with your coach for your team’s specific photo time on Saturday.

To make it easier for parents, here is the ORDER FORM and SALE ITEMS you can download in advance of your picture day appointment.

Please Think of ABGC as You Shop This Holiday Season

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It’s that time of the year when many families are already thinking about their holiday shopping.  If you’re going to be using Amazon this month please take a moment and name ABGC as your AmazonSmile designated charity.  You gift giving can also give a gift to the thousands of Annandale youth sponsored by our program each year.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to ABGC programs.

How do you shop on Amazon Smile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

How do I select ABGC when shopping on AmazonSmile?

 On your first visit to AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), you need to select Annandale Boys and Girls Club (ABGC) from the non-profit menu of choices to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

 Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Your AmazonSmile donations help pay for ABGC’s many community programs and thousands of scholarships we offer each season to qualified families.

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School Shopping?  Your Purchases Can Help ABGC!

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It’s that time of the year (darn it!) when many parents and students are getting ready for school.  If you’re going to be shopping on Amazon this month please take a moment and name ABGC as your AmazonSmile designated charity.

It’s a simple and automatic way for ABGC supporters to help our organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.  When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to ABGC programs.

How do you shop on Amazon Smile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

How do I select ABGC when shopping on AmazonSmile?

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select Annandale Boys and Girls Club (ABGC) from the non-profit menu of choices to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Which products on AmazonSmile are eligible for charitable donations?

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on AmazonSmile?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

Your AmazonSmile donations help pay for ABGC’s many community programs and thousands of scholarships we offer each season to qualified families. 

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Helping Players Self-Evaluate Their Play

youth sportsThis is a great article not just for coaches but for parents too. How many times have your heard your player lament “I didn’t have a good game” just because they didn’t score? Players need to understand that there are a lot of very important ways to contribute to your team that don’t always include wracking up points. Even though this was written for US Lacrosse it applies to all of our young athletes.

Coaching Youth Lacrosse: Provide Positive Feedback

September 30, 2014    1011 Views

By Dr. Richard Ginsburg

How often do our kids actually ask us for feedback about their performance? Perhaps more to the point, how often do we offer our feedback when our kids don’t ask for it?

The car ride home after the game or practice is notorious for us as parents and coaches to provide feedback to our children, whether they want it or not. Often the conversation occurs too close to the time of the game and whatever good intentions we had in sharing our pearls of wisdom are lost in a frustrating breakdown of communication. Sulking can occur—maybe even an argument.

I admit it. I’m guilty of this, and often I have to remind myself of some important guiding principles.

Good performance occurs when athletes are positive and engaged in the moment. If their brains are filled with distractions such as what their coaches, parents, or friends think (particularly when it is critical), their capacity to engage in play and enjoy themselves is undermined.

There are some athletes who are highly sensitized to their environments. They pick up on our facial expressions and tones in our voices and interpret them as criticisms. Often, we feel that our cheers from the sidelines and comments after the game are benign at worst, but somehow what we say can get twisted and have a negative effect. Whether our kids are sensitive to criticism like this or not, a first guiding principle is that we need to be aware of both our children’s sensitivities as well as when and how we should communicate with them about their play.

When is the best time to communicate with our kids? A good rule of thumb is when we think it’s time to say something after a game, try to pause. Give it some time, wait 24 hours if you can stomach it. The heat of the moment or the hours following is rarely a good time to offer feedback, particularly if there is criticism or even a suggestion involved. Waiting gives us time to calm down and craft our thoughts and also allows our children to get some distance from the game when they are more able to have a conversation without being overly defensive.

How do we best communicate with our kids? Clearly, each youth athlete is unique. However, a guiding principle is to focus on identifying positive comments prior to any constructive suggestions. If possible, see if you can name four or five things your son or daughter did well before providing a suggestion. “Honey, it was great to watch you play today. Looks like you gave it your all out there. I saw you make some great plays and that was a terrific ground ball you got when the game was on the line. And I loved the way you were so positive with your teammates. I’d love to see you attack the goal more often because you are such a good dodger.”

An important caveat here: You can’t make up a compliment. It has to be accurate.

Inaccurate praise undermines the legitimacy of your comments and can backfire, leading to frustration or simply watching your child zone out and shut you off. Kids, particularly teens, can see right through us. So, we have to be authentic. Giving false praise to your child can contribute to a distorted sense of ability, which could create challenges down the road. Comments like “How come I am not starting, coach, I am the best player on this team?” may be something they hear at home but isn’t the case on the field. So while being positive with our kids is absolutely critical, we aren’t doing them any favors or building their self-esteem if our feedback is extreme or off the mark. I say “extreme” because all of us parents see our kids as terrific, so if our praise is a little exaggerated, that is to be expected. Our kids need to know that we adore them and think what they do is wonderful. Having the awareness that our lens leans naturally toward adoration can at least help bring our feedback closer to reality.

I find that a safe bet, particularly as your child gets older, is to focus more on values in your feedback. “I really like the way you never gave up. You were terrific with your teammates. You looked like you were having a great time out there.” Comments like these avoid the potential pressure on performance our kids feel when we say, “Great win today. You got a nice goal.” Of course, we all acknowledge these accomplishments, but if our kids internalize that winning and scoring are the measuring sticks to evaluate their performance, they are more prone to stress and anxiety.

We want to expand their self-evaluation to “how” they play the game, not just how many points they earned. We want them to be able to say, “I played hard and never gave up. Even though we didn’t win or I didn’t score a goal, I am proud of how I played. I’ll get ’em next time.”

This kind of thinking allows our kids to recover from disappointments but also stay in touch with their enjoyment of play, which is the fuel for ongoing participation in sports over time. And in the end, isn’t that what we want?

How have you successfully used positive feedback with your youth lacrosse player(s)? Share your suggestions in the comments section.

This post is part of the “10 Fundamental Tips for Coaching Youth Lacrosse” series. Dr. Richard D. Ginsburg, Ph.D., is the co-director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Psychology Program and Paces Institute, and a member of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee. Paige Perriello, M.D., F.A.A.P., Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville, also contributed to this post.

Think athletic scholarships are a ‘holy grail’? Think again

NBC_Sports_logo_2012For many young athletes and their families, the dream of playing college sports is very different from the reality

NBC Sports has this terrific look at what it’s really like to be a Division I collegiate athlete. We highly recommend you read the whole article but here are a few excerpts:

“The NCAA tells high school athletes the chances of getting a scholarship in many sports are around 2 percent.

But does the reality of athletic scholarships match the fantasy? Hardly.

While tens of thousands of athletes will head off to visit colleges this fall hoping to be recruited, only a small fraction will make the cut. Even fewer will get scholarships. And for those who do end up playing in college, whether on scholarship or not, the experience may be very different from what they imagined.

In a survey of college athletes by the NCAA asking what students wished they could have changed about their college sports experience, the most common responses were about time. Another NCAA survey found that a typical NCAA athlete in-season spends 39 hours a week on academics—and 33 hours a week on sports.

There are more opportunities every year for elite competition in youth sports, said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, an associate professor of sports management at George Washington University. “People are feeling the need to go because now they’ve got these college showcases and coaches show up, and if you want to get your kid seen, you’d better be there.”

When parents add up how much money they’ve spent each year, it’s almost equal to a scholarship in some cases, she said. Still, Neirotti has felt the pressure herself. She’s done her share of writing checks and traveling for her own children’s sports involvement.

Don Schumacher, executive director of the National Association of Sports Commissions, agrees that parents who expect youth sports involvement to generate a positive financial return in the form of scholarships are off the mark. “You could spend $5,000 to $10,000 a year for three or four years chasing all these tournaments all year long, where if you saved that money and paid the tuition, you’d be ahead,” he said.

“Athletics in many ways is about helping individuals achieve their dreams, and it is about learning how you can push yourself to become better,” said Perko, who was a star basketball player for Wake Forest. “It’s the question of at what point does it become too much.”

Elissa Cordrey, a Summit, N.J., mother of four lacrosse players who has been through the recruiting process with several of her own children, thinks often about that question. She has seen other young athletes have difficulty filtering offers from different schools, and said players and parents can often be blinded by a program’s success or prestige and fail to think about whether that college is right for them.

Luckily for Cordrey, her children have so far had positive experiences at their Division 1 and Division 3 schools. But she is under no illusions about what high-level athletics involve.

“My kids love it and we are thrilled they are making the commitment,” she said. But if the child is playing for the sake of a scholarship, and not for love of the game, be careful, she warned. “Keep your eyes wide open. It’s not high school athletics. In some ways, it’s really exciting. But if your child’s not passionate, you are going to have a lot of teary phone calls.”