Outdoor Adventure Program
We understand that the importance of sports in the life of a young student is invaluable and goes much further than the basic answer that "it keeps kids off the streets." It does in fact keep kids off the streets, but it also instills lessons that are essential in the life of a student-athlete. As a commitment to the development of our students, we offer competitive organized sports at all of our schools, often traveling to state competitions all around California.
We believe in building resilient children through the values of our competitive sports program. Our Student Athletes prepare for a lifelong experience with sports, by learning how Athletes prepare for the future today! Students are placed on Academic contracts and are expected to complete service learning projects through our COMMUNITY ALL STARZ program that focus on developing a wider community awareness of how they can serve in their communities though service.
Community All Starz
Not only is this the name of our sports curriculum but also of our entire sports program. The core values of the Community All-Starz are focused on teaching our student-athletes to be responsible members of their community by giving back in a variety of service learning projects focused around developing in them a wider perspective of what it means to be an “All-Star” Athlete. ALL our students involved in any of our competitive sports MUST participate in a service learning project. Projects in the past include; Food and coat drives, community clean-ups, visiting senior citizens, as well as helping out in homeless shelters, among other projects!
Students who join a team have the opportunity to learn many life lessons that can carry them into adulthood. We all know that being young does not last for a long time, although when you're young it feels like it does. Sometimes a good college football game on a Saturday provides us with the opportunity to reflect on those days of being on a team and about the things that we learned from our coaches that helped us get to where we are today.
Whether it's football, hockey, Cheerleading, or track and field, there are many benefits of joining a sports team. The greatest benefit is having a good coach. As much as any coach would care about winning, they care more about preparing their athletes for the future. Coaches offer our youth the opportunity to learn more about values like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice, and accountability.
Here are some of the core values our student-athletes learn in competitive sports:
Teamwork and Life - Coaches teach life lessons that athletes can bring with them through adulthood. Athletes who play a sport often listen to their coaches as much as (or more than) they will listen to their teachers or even their parents. A good coach is a gift, and many athletes look up to them with respect.
In addition, coaches teach their athletes life skills that they will long remember after they leave high school or college. Teamwork, determination, failure, winning, and respect are just a few of the qualities a good team possesses. The following looks at how those qualities affect students.
Teamwork - In these times of high-stakes demands in education, there is no better way to negotiate your way through changes than being a part of a team. Win or lose the team works together. High-quality teams, we can get through anything when they do it together.
Determination - when the chips are down and the other side is ahead, good teams work together to find the determination to get through any hardship. Determination teaches kids to not give up, even when they are losing or after they lost. Determination is what kids need to learn in order to achieve a college education or find a job in a terrible job market.
Failure - Everyone, adults and children, fails at some point in their life. Teaching kids that failing is an opportunity that can be turned into success, is an important part of the experience. Teams lose games; some even lose the whole season but teaching kids to get up every day and work harder day in and day out to overcome those failures is a life lesson. Adults could learn that lesson as well.
Winning - learning how to win is as important as learning how to lose. Good sportsmanship is another life lesson that kids need to learn and it teaches them how to interact with peers who are different from they are. So much of life is about working with people who are different from you. Good sportsmanship can teach students how to be humble.
Respect - We were always taught to be respectful to our elders. Some students, and adults, seem to have missed that lesson. Being a part of a team teaches students to respect the coach and their teammates. Everyone, no matter their income or educational level deserves to be respected. Students who play sports have the opportunity to learn to respect their teammates who are more athletically gifted than them as well as their teammates who are not as gifted.
Time Management - Students who play sports have the opportunity to learn about time management. Parents need to make sure that schoolwork is not set aside for practice. Students need to learn how to manage both.
Struggling Learners - sometimes being a part of a team is the best part of a student's day, especially if that student is a struggling learner. Teams and coaches can help build the self-esteem that gets lost when a student is struggling. In addition, it may help create an incentive for struggling learner to work harder in the classroom so they can perform out on the field.
COMPETITIVE SPORTS WE OFFER
Track and Field
Check out some of our student-athletes highlights!
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Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor visited the Solar Rays Extended Day Program at New Highland Academy in Oakland, Calif.
Recently, Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor visited the Solar Rays Extended Day Program at New Highland Academy in Oakland, Calif. Pryor spoke to the students about nutrition, staying active, and the importance of education. The students were excited to meet the quarterback and paid close attention to what he had to say.
The students are part of an after-school program that is run by the Higher Ground Neighborhood Development Corp.
According to the Higher Ground website, the “after-school program mission is to provide a safe and nurturing space where students are given both the tools and access necessary to be successful in the academic arena while exposing them and their families to varied cultural, artistic and fitness experiences that will assist in their development into happy, well-rounded and successful people.”
Khariyyah Shabazz-Wade, the coordinator for the Higher Ground organization and the coordinator for New Highland Elementary, runs the after school program for 100 kids. “We provide services such as enrichment, academics, activities, service learning, sports programming and more,” said Shabazz-Wade.
The New Highland Academy multi-purpose room was decorated in Silver and Black to welcome Pryor. “Today was ‘Meet a Raider’ day,” explained Shabazz-Wade. “A part of our curriculum is something that’s called, ‘Community All Starz.’ We basically have our athletes learn what it is to be an athlete as well as a member of their community. So within that, they have to research players, they have to find out what do they do for charity work and basically do what those players do within their communities. This year we had our whole football team organize this day to have Mr. Terrelle Pryor come through and speak to the kids.”
The students gathered in the multi-purpose room and waited excitedly for Pryor. “They were so excited,” said Shabazz-Wade. “They screamed, yelled, it was hard to get them to actually calm down because they were so excited. They were ecstatic.”
Pryor spoke about the importance of paying attention and working hard in school, staying physically active, and eating right. After responding to questions from the students, Pryor took the after school program participants outside to exercise. “It was a good time,” said Pryor. “It was a good time to spend a couple hours with the kids.”
The rookie quarterback out of Ohio State led the students through exercises and capped off the afternoon by signing autographs for everyone in attendance.
“Any time you can do it, you have to humble yourself and come out and show the kids reasons why they can be where they want to be some time in their life by sharing your story,” said Pryor. “It’s great for me and it humbles me.”
Shabazz-Wade hopes the students take away a few of the messages Pryor shared. “I hope they get what he actually had to get through to get the position that he’s in,” said Shabazz-Wade. “He talked a lot about what he did in college. He talked about him playing sports for 17 years before he even became a professional athlete. He talked about nutrition, what he eats, the exercise he does, everything that it takes to actually be a professional athlete.”
The students, parents, and after-school tutors were excited that Pryor was able and willing to spend the afternoon with the students.