Independence Local Schools News Article

IMS Students Win Contest with Idea for Sports Camp

Girls Who Move, Move the World...

Independence Middle School students Casey Adams and Lauren Vitantonio won the “Game Growers Plan” contest with their plan for a beginner’s sports camp that encourages girls to participate in a new sport.  They have been selected to represent the city of Cleveland, the state of Ohio, and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the chosen Nike GameGrowers ambassadors.  The announcement was made by the Cavs during a surprise iPride assembly at the school on December 13. 
The “Game Growers” contest is sponsored by Nike and encourages eighth-grade girls to team up and create an idea about how to get more girls involved in playing sports. Adams and Vitantonio had to submit an online application about their idea called “Crash Course Sports.”
In their application, they stated that the main issue that faces girls in the Independence community who want to play a sport is conflicting practices with other sports they are involved in. The students explained that, “Most people are afraid to try new things because they have never had any experience playing that sport.” It is for this reason they decided to create a team-based sports camp for beginners.
Their camp would be aimed towards older girls who want to learn the basics of a sport they may not have played before. This way they would gain skills before advancing to competitive high school leagues. “Our goal is to help girls who would like to rediscover the sport, want a refresher, or have never played,” said Adams and Vitantonio.
According to a Google Form that the students sent to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Independence Middle School, 33.3% of girls stopped playing basketball. 31.8% of those surveyed regret or mostly regret quitting sports.
“We think it’s important to get more girls playing sports because it helps build team skills, and boosts work ethic,” the girls wrote in their application. Adams and Vitantonio talked about their own teamwork in their application as friends who have known each other since first grade. They wrote to “Game Growers” saying, “Overall, we make a great team and hope to work with you in the near future.”
Their hope turned into a reality as their idea for a sports beginner’s camp was chosen by one of the participating WNBA and NBA teams. As Game Growers representatives, Adams and Vitantonio will visit Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and work with Nike and the WNBA and NBA teams to create a Game Plan for the chosen ideas.
These girls will get a once in a lifetime opportunity that most can only hope to have provided for them,” said Principal Jamie Vanek, Independence Middle School.  “I am most excited to see the skills they will hopefully learn and are able to bring back to the Independence community. They will be able to enhance the experiences for future female athletes for many years to come.” 
The chosen Game Growers Game Plans will be shared during the Game Growers Showcase at the 2020 WNBA Draft.

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