Crosse Your Heart Lacrosse
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in North America, and women’s lacrosse is fast becoming a standard program in America’s middle and high schools. In Center Grove schools, lacrosse is a club sport in both middle school and high school.
Last year, Center Grove Junior Alyssa Fuller recognized this as an opportunity to reach out to younger girls. She started Crosse Your Heart, a lacrosse camp for girls in the first through fourth grades.
Played on a field similar in size to a soccer field, lacrosse teams operate on the field more like hockey players on ice. There are three defined positions: defense, midfield, and attack. Player position determines location on the field and the acceptable actions. The game is played with la crosse or “the stick,” and is played in two 15-to-20-minute halves. Fuller says that on-field communication is essential for a team to be successful.
Being a relatively new sport in the area, it is an opportunity for young athletes to learn new skills and perhaps excel in ways that they would not in other sports. Alyssa noted that kids often know more about the sport than their parents. This results in friendlier games, with less parental coaching from the sidelines. However, it is still beneficial if the players have some exposure before they get to the middle school club sport level. That is where Crosse Your Heart comes in.
Last year, Alyssa and her five assistant coaches served 18 young girls using the field near Mount Auburn United Methodist Church on Stones Crossing Road. They also had access to the building in the case of inclement weather. The Center Grove Lacrosse Club and U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body of lacrosse, loaned equipment to the program. Crosse Your Heart provided the girls with Bibles, snacks, and Crosse Your Heart pens, journal, tee shirt, and hair ribbon. Sponsors, and a personal contribution from Alyssa herself, provided the funds for these additional items. Last year, the camp met twice a week between mid-June and mid-July. The cost was $15 per girl. The girls arrived at 10:30 and spent 45 minutes in lacrosse drills. They then enjoyed a snack for 20 minutes and concluded with a Bible lesson. Many of the participants plan to return this year.
To help extend the program beyond the mechanics of lacrosse, Fuller also gave each girl a pink ball imprinted with a special word, such as happiness, hope, prayer, or caring. The girls were then encouraged to think about the word on their ball for a week and then to share with the group what they learned as they thought about the word throughout the week. Alyssa also prepared a “Life Choices” road map to help the girls understand that their choices have consequences. Different paths had different results, revealed only when someone “went down” that path.
Expansion Planned for this Year
This year Crosse Your Heart hopes to expand into Franklin and Mooresville and register 50 girls. Registration is $30. Of course, the ministry requires facilities in these locations and Alyssa is currently searching for places that offer both a suitable playing field and an accessible building for protection from any possible bad weather. The organization has written severe weather procedures, based on the national standards established by U.S. Lacrosse. They also carry liability insurance through U.S. Lacrosse.
Planning for this season is in full swing and the organization is looking both for new girls to join the program and for sponsors to help insure a quality experience. If you are interested in attending, have a location in Franklin or Mooresville that might work for the ministry, would like to make a donation, or simply want to learn more, you can visit their web site at CrosseYourHeart.com, call Aly Fuller on her cell phone (650-799-0378), or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Daniel Veldkamp