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Marshall women’s soccer team gives lessons to Girl Scout troop

April 3, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University women’s soccer team helped a local Girl Scout troop get one badge closer to full sash on Monday.

The soccer team gave lessons to more than 50 girls from local Troop 10211 about the principles of sportsmanlike conduct. To accomplish this the girls did activities together at the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex field, including several races, a counting game, juggling soccer balls and a game that saw the girls working together to create charades-like animals and objects.

By the end of their evening together, the girls were given the “Fair Play Badge,” which is earned by following the rules, being inclusive of everyone, working as a team, learning to keep score and planning future activities promoting honorable game play.

It was a fun day for the girls, but it was also special for the soccer team, said assistant coach Erika Duncan. Being on the soccer team is about more than bringing home a victory; it’s also about being a positive role model in the community.

“We’re building more than just soccer players. We’re building character,” Duncan said. “We hope the things that we can teach them here, with situations and experiences, that they can take with them when they graduate into the big wide world.”

The soccer team members were looking forward to the event for months, she said. It was also highly anticipated from members of the girl scouts, said Amie Aya-ay, troop leader.

The troop, made up of kindergartners through fifth-graders, only formed in January. Since then, the girls have worked with health professionals to earn the first aid merit badge and worked with a local artist to earn the painting badge, among several others.

It’s important to introduce the girls to people directly involved with the themes they are trying to learn, Aya-ay said. Meeting the soccer team was an example for who the girls can be like when they grow up, she said.

“I know a lot of girls on the team they are positive role models for these girls to look up to,” she said.

Stacey Lewis, 9, of Huntington, said her favorite activity of the evening was the charades-like game. The soccer players would yell out a person, place or thing and then request a certain number of girls to create it.

Four girls worked together to act out driving a car, six girls joined hands to form a train and several girls jumped on shoulders to pretend to be a giraffe.

“We get to do a lot of fun stuff,” Lewis said.

Soccer team members Molly Preston and Canaan Booten said it was fulfilling to teach the lessons working together and being fair. Both had been in the Girl Scouts when they were younger, using skills they learned in their athletic careers.

“It taught me how to make friends,” Preston said. “It builds teamwork and builds great character.”

Booten said being a girl scout also teaches young girls a very important reality.

“It’s showing them a different aspect,” Booten said. “Girls can not only do a lot of things’ girls can do all things.”

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.