Our coaches work with over 4,500 children each week nationwide, but they do a lot more than just coach! They build vital connections with each participant to amplify program outcomes and improve each child’s experience. They’re at the heart of our program so we re-imagined them not as coaches but as Youth Development Mentors (YDMs) helping students develop positive character traits and life long skills.
All of our YDMs have amazing stories to tell – and we want to share them!
I sometimes leave a session thinking I just learned more from the kids than they did from me today.
For this month’s YDM Spotlight we caught up with Kyla!
Monroe Academy for Visual Arts & Design & Manhattan RFC
What is it like to be a Youth Development Mentor?
I find being a YDM sometimes challenging but also a lot of fun. At times working with kids can test your patience but the biggest thing for me is I find it refreshing! It really breaks up my work week and I look forward to my sessions with the kids. It also opens my eyes to different cultures and backgrounds that are so different to mine. I sometimes leave a session thinking I just learned more from the kids than they did from me today.
One of my favorite things I love to see when I’m coaching is seeing the kid that is very quiet and shy in the first session come out of their shell, laughing and joking with the other kids as the session or weeks progress. Its also great when the kids are excited to see you’re back, and they light up and smile. Kids are so honest and upfront that you know it’s genuine. When a player asks you for advice on something I see that as a special moment too as they trust you enough to ask for your help.
I’ve been really lucky to have many great coaches and influential people in my life. my very first soccer coach was great, he used to pick me up and drop me home after practice because my parents couldn’t and as a shy child he pushed me to make friends with the other kids. He also taught me that winning wasn’t everything, to enjoy it and have fun!
At Play Rugby we talk a lot about “Go Forward” – what does that mean to you?
Thank you Kyla! We’re proud to have you on our team.
Check back soon to meet another of our incredible Youth Development Mentors, and as always you can keep up with us on social media: