Junior Development

Two more significant steps were taken toward developing Juniors Australian Football in the Southwest on the two days preceding the 2002 USAFL Administrators Conference in Phoenix, April 11th and 12th. The Phoenix Scorpions and the AZAFL were lucky enough to have the ever entertaining and energetic Junior Development Director for North America, Greg Everett in town from Toronto to help out with some Juniors Clinics at local Valley schools.

Day 1 saw Greg and American Revolution hopeful Jared Kaiser Schrieber step on to the campus of Kaisers alma mater, Valley Christian High School, in Chandler to introduce footy to four P.E. classes full of eager learners. Kaiser had put all of the plans in place, and armed with a Level 0 Junior Development kit, as well as plenty of extra footys and other teaching materials from the Scorpions Club Junior Development kit (both courtesy of the USAFL), he and Greg educated the students, as well as the teachers, on the basics of Australian Football. Around lunch time John Pops Meier made his way to Valley Christian to assist with the teaching. The curriculum for the day included handpassing and kicking, followed by a scrimmage for the kids to really enjoy the pleasures of footy. All of the kids had a great time and the P.E. teacher, , was more than enthusiastic about the days activities and the game itself. In fact, he mentioned that he knows at least five other P.E. teachers who would love to have the Scorps out for future clinics just what we like to hear. Discussions are underway to plan these clinics soon.

On Day 2, thanks to the planning and organization of another Revo hopeful, Jay Ferris Mueller, the Scorpions entered Horizon Community Learning Center in Phoenix to disseminate the rules and techniques of Australian Football to six classes of keen middle school pupils. Jay and Greg were joined by Jeff Fingers Purcell for the day. And another Level 0 kit donated by the USAFL made it easy for the crew to duplicate the previous days success with this new group of youngsters. The curriculum stayed the same with handpassing and kicking followed by the newly formed Crocodiles and Wombats going head to head to finish out each class period. Several visitors turned up over the course of the day to brave the 95 degree heat and check out the fun, including Scorpions (and Horizon teachers) Brody Vancers and T.J. O'Gorman, USAFL President Jon Lenicheck, and a reporter and camera person for the Horizon School newsletter. Horizon P.E. teacher Patrick Andrew was quite keen on the game saying that he would be giving the students a full week section on Australian Football the following week, and we discussed the possibility of future intra and inter-school matches. Once again the eagerness of the kids was incredible. In fact one student, affectionately known as Spike for the day, made his way out of a math class and into a second class of P.E. in the afternoon to sharpen his skills for the coming week.

Two more successful days of Junior footy are complete, with an eye toward developing inter-school matches in the future. The benefits for the students, teachers, and Phoenix Scorpions were plentiful, and it was all done with no out of pocket cost to the club or schools. Due to the level of interest by the teachers at both schools, Level 1 kits have been ordered for each school (again, free of charge from the USAFL), and follow-ups will be done with each teacher to see what kind of progress has been made and how we can help them to continue progressing in the future.

-Jeff Fingers Purcell

Junior Development Officer Phoenix Scorpions/AZAFL

- Jeff Purcell

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