We celebrated the completion of our Xtreme Squash program for the school year 2011-2012 on May 31 with a pizza party. Five large pizzas were quickly engulfed by the starving kids, the Xsquashers.
We enjoyed an eventful year. The program continued to grow and develop making significant progress with both the squash and the academic components. We expanded this year to include 40 plus kids from 3 different middle schools, namely Selby Lane School, Hoover School, and Kennedy School in the Redwood City District. The members of our Stanford squash teams worked actively with the kids as squash coaches and academic teachers.
The academic sessions began with a focus on health, including Nutrition, Exercise, and Healthy Weight. Other topics followed with those that would captivate our Xsquashers' interest the most, such as government (presidential election), music (two of our Stanford team members gave a live performance/teaching demonstration in piano and violin), the universe and the solar system (planets including mars, venus, earth) , and birds (crows the smartest of all birds), among others.
Our teaching strategy included the use of video clips, which appeared to effectively capture the attention of the Xsquashers. These sessions were followed by team competition for correct answers, with the best team receiving prizes.
All of our Xsquashers improved steadily throughout the year. What was the most striking was their ever-increasing enthusiasm for the sport. Typical practices consisted of 30 minutes of feeding and drilling with a coach, followed by 30 minutes of game play, sometimes with the coach participating as well. Some of the Xsquashers plan to continue to come to play on their own during the summer.
All and all, it was a positive and productive year for Xtreme squash. Major steps were taken that will help to carry the program on into the future. The program has contributed immensely to the team environment. It is also highly rewarding to see these youngsters broaden their horizon and develop and grow in positive ways.