The Springfield High School students I work with have a community service requirement in order to graduate from high school, which serves them well by encouraging them to engage with the community at large and to see education as something beyond the classroom. One of the challenges of this requirement is fully engaging students in their efforts, seeing it not just as a requirement but an opportunity to engage more deeply with giving, learning, and receiving. Community service has the potential to serve multiple purposes and meaningful service acknowledges the abilities of the person engaging with the work.
The Springfield Parks and Recreation program hosted a Dance Team Camp this past week at Park Street school and I was blessed to dance with not only a strong cadre of elementary school dancers, but also a dedicated group of high schoolers, spending their summer break running laps, learning choreography, and making dance with their younger peers. This week was an exercise in showing up, working hard, and finding your strengths as a dancer, leader, and peer.
Building confidence is hard work in adolescence, but providing opportunities for high schoolers to be role models for younger students offers them an meaningful chance to do that work. Engaging fully and projecting positivity in the heat of summertime takes effort and kindness. Mixed ages attempting the same work show strengths and weaknesses. We all experienced the freedom to JUST DANCE at many points during the week, but the teacher in me is grateful for all the other positive benefits at work.
Some dancing with poms for your enjoyment. It was certainly playful and fun for us.