Bulldogs Basketball Program
At Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, I have had so many opportunities that have challenged and made me grow. As a Bulldogs player, I have become more confident as a player and as a person. The confidence I have gained has made me a better leader and a stronger player. The Club is where I feel motivated to keep growing in my skills. Bulldogs is a place where I have people who believe in me and encourage me.
The Club means that I have a place to grow in and strive for my goals. At Bulldogs, I have coaches who see my potential and put me in positions where I have the opportunity to grow. In the beginning, I wasn’t a very skilled player and there were times that I was on the bench a lot. Although I was discouraged, I continued to practice and listen to feedback. Coach Leo put me on teams where I was able to be a more dominant player. From those teams, I was able to become a more skilled player and communicate with my teammates better. The Club is a place where we are not only a team, but a family. We know each other’s best selves and are comfortable sharing with each other what we can work on and what we did well.
Through my experiences as a basketball player in BGC San Dieguito’s Bulldogs I have grown a lot. When I first joined Bulldogs, I wasn’t confident in myself and didn’t realize the potential that I had. As I continued to play, I received a lot of encouragement from my coaches and teammates. I was able to recognize my strengths and worked to refine and improve my skills. This experience has caused me to become a better leader, on and off the court. I have gone from being the most quiet on the court to being told that my leadership and vocalism helps my team. The opportunities and motivation I have received as a Bulldogs player has built me to be the person I am today. Basketball helps me to practice important skills such as being confident and working together to achieve a goal which I am able to use in my life.
I have spent almost half of my life involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, shaping not only my character and individuality, but creating a pathway for myself in life and defining my future goals, aspirations, and career. As a senior in high school, I have chosen a college and a major, I found a group of friends that love and support me, I work hard everyday in the sports I play, I work at a job to support my future endeavors, and I involve myself in school as much as possible. However, my eleven year old self, when I first became involved in BGC San Dieguito had minimal self identity or confidence, and would have never believed I would be where I am today.
At eleven, not even in middle school yet, I ran on the track and cross country teams for Diegueño Middle School, sparking my lifelong love and passion for not only participating in the Club, but for sports, for coaching, for leadership, and for helping others. From twelve to thirteen as a seventh grader, I was anxious to fit in and I didn’t know the layout of my new school, but the BGC San Dieguito’s program provided a haven for me through sports to be my authentic self while making friends and creating positive relationships. For the rest of my seventh grade year, I found comfort in greeting my teammates around campus, and looked forward to track, cross country, and field hockey practices where I found an encouraging group of people that made me feel included in my school. At fourteen in eighth grade, I progressed in my classes and prepared for high school, accumulating stress from having to choose a high school to attend and wondering what would happen to me and my friends after middle school, yet I consistently had a place to feel welcomed through the school’s sports programs sponsored by the BGC San Dieguito.
At fifteen, in ninth grade, I made the jump to varsity high school sports, but I wanted to continue the uplifting experience I had when I was in middle school. I was honored to be a volunteer for the Club at Diegueño Middle School as a running coach to help develop workouts and take athletes on runs. Additionally, as a freshman and player on my own high school varsity field hockey team, I was invited to speak to the Diegueño middle school field hockey program as I was in their shoes only one year ago and wanted to give them both the reassurance and confidence that they too can succeed in high school however scary it may seem. I loved being around an environment with middle school student athletes where they are in their most formable and influential year, and I hoped that by helping with workouts and providing a positive influence at practices, games, and meets, I could support their pathway which was molded by the Club, just as my pathway was.
At sixteen as a sophomore, my world along with everyone else was shut down because of COVID-19 inducing long periods of isolation, changing the way kids develop and completely disrupting mental health, maturity, and the social competence skills that are essential in the progression of society. Through time and patience, we sought out solutions to COVID-19, yet there were no seemingly tangible resolutions to the mental health and social crisis that middle schoolers in particular were experiencing. Without sports, students including myself, had no outlet to release the built up tension they held, but once sports were safe and cleared to oper-ate, it was the Club that helped improve mental and physical health, and prompted more students than ever to regain the positive aspects of life that had once been diminished. Once again the Club allowed me to volunteer at Oak Crest middle school during the track and cross country seasons. This gave me the opportunity to reconnect with middle schoolers to help them achieve their goals, regain confidence in interacting with their peers and rekindle friendships lost during the shutdown in sports. As I watched the development of joy and self-esteem in the kids, I realized I was developing my own leadership skills and using their growth to help bridge the same mental and physical gaps which I had incurred during the shutdown in sports.
At seventeen going into my junior year, I continued to volunteer for the middle school running programs and, using my newly developed leadership skills, I became the Founder and President of my own club, Bake It Forward. I organized the large group of students involved in my club at school and coordinated with charities in my immediate area including the Sunrise Senior Living Home, the Catholic Charities La Posada Homeless Shelter, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and others to raise money for and deliver home-baked goods to. The success I found in recruiting club members, finding charities in need and coordinating deliveries were a direct reflection of the skills and confidence I learned at the Boys & Girls Club.
Seizing on my newly found passion for leadership, I applied for and was selected as the coach for the Diegueño Middle School field hockey team during my junior year in high school. This is where I learned to play field hockey and where my love of the sport originated, and I wanted to give girls the same excitement I had developed in middle school and instill the same feeling of community and commitment. Although I had the responsibility of teaching and coaching the girls to advance their field hockey knowledge, I found that I grew with them, as they were not only helping me develop my coaching, but were teaching me how to create a welcoming and enthusiastic sports environment. The positive impact I sought to impart on the players was reflected back on me and I became not only their coach but also a trusted friend and mentor for all of the girls.
At eighteen and a senior in High School, I continued coaching middle school field hockey for the second year in a row, which prompted me to look back on how I got to where I am today and how I have had so many opportunities to succeed due to the people in my life, the pro-grams I was able to participate in and lead, and the support of BGC San Dieguito. Through this reflection, I realized that this distinct opportunity developed my leadership skills, enabling me to begin my career in volunteer work and helping others. I put these skills to use and applied through an extensive process to become the Senior Class President of my high school’s Associated Student Body. In this leadership position, I found that the chance to volunteer at the same place that sculpted me was what compounded my involvement in school and service to my community. As I expanded my knowledge through these opportunities, I found myself inter-acting with a multitude of local businesses which influenced my direction after high school. I have been accepted to the University of Georgia and committed to the Terry School of Business where I will be furthering my education and professional business pathway for the next four years. Without the support and dedication offered to me by the Club, I would not have been able to develop my leadership and build the necessary skills of service to confidently contribute in the community and to make a positive impact on others. Although eleven year old me was not sure what she was going to do with her life or how she was going to get there, I am sure she would be proud of where she ended up.