Earlier this month, more than 60 SCORES staff and coaches from all 12 programs convened in Washington, DC, for SCORESCon 2018.
SCORESCon is always an exciting time for America SCORES staff. One attendee said about the conference, “Honestly the best part of SCORES Con is getting everyone in the network to share the unique and innovative things they are doing in their city - whether it’s a small tweak to Game Day structure or a new external partner like UpMetrics.”
SCORESCon attendees were lucky enough to meet for breakfast and breakout sessions at the historic Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives. The Sumner School is one of the earliest schools for African Americans in the District of Columbia, and SCORES staff admired the exhibits, archives and art that now adorns each room in the building.
With a full year gone by since the last SCORESCon, updates and introductions were in order. After each affiliate shared information about its activities from the previous year and an overview of what events and activities it’s running in addition to the core model, it was time for DC SCORES team building exercise expert Charity Blackwell to take the mic.
Breakout sessions were in order after all the SCORESCon attendees had dove, danced and sprinted as one team — racing to a chair in the middle of the room, laughter ubiquitous. First on the docket were discussions about best practices on coach training and collaborative resource sharing. There was also a working group taking on SCORES Cup and a conversation about financial checks and balances for small organizations. There are oh, so many things that go into running and growing a SCORES affiliate.
After a full day of sharing information, SCORES staff were ready to get outside to exercise. What better way to do that and meet new people than a 3v3 soccer tournament? Everyone made the walk north to Marie Reed Elementary School and the very field — although with a turf surface now — where SCORES started 24 years ago. Afterward, everyone enjoyed food and drinks at one of DC SCORES’ new favorite soccer-watching restaurants, Across the Pond.
Day 2 was also jam packed. SCORESCon attendees ate breakfast before listening to an expert from the Children’s National Hospital speak on sexual harassment abuse detection and prevention. Breakout sessions covering Junior SCORES — a quickly growing aspect of SCORES programming — the SCORES curricula and online and mobile fundraising tools took place before lunch. Staff members discussed cultural sensitivity training and alumni programming after another chance to network and laugh about the previous day’s soccer tournament and other activities, for which there were trophies, of course (bragging rights!).
“As an alumni of the program and someone who has invested a lot of my time in trying to build our alumni program,” said one participant, “it was great to listen to other sites’ strategies in recruiting and maintaining a strong alumni network.”
Tuesday night, SCORESCon attendees broke into teams again, mixing staff from different cities, and embarked on a scavenger hunt. The event was a highlight for a lot of staff members and a great way for out-of-towners to learn a little bit about some parts of the host city. Although the cold and wind tried to stop the fun before it started, attendees showed up with a ton of energy and had an amazing time scouring the DC streets for even more bragging rights.
This continued at the hunt’s end-point, Buffalo Billiards, where staff members earned more medals and laughter was everywhere during a game night full of pool and skeeball and ping-pong and more. In case you haven’t guessed, we at America SCORES like friendly competition. Sportsmanship, of course, was top priority.
While a Northeaster super snow storm forced a few attendees home early, the rest of the crew came into Day 3 with energy. Before we could get started, everyone had to get used to their new surroundings at the Line Hotel, a historic church building that also houses the Adams Morgan Community Center and nonprofit incubator space.
The day started with a lecture on interactive storytelling, given by the Catalog for Philanthropy’s Matt Gayer. SCORESCon attendees saved the best breakout sessions for last, launching into interactive discussions about gender equity and social media.
SCOREScon concluded with reflection. With everyone energized by the teamwork and information sharing of the last few days, staff members began to think seriously about their takeaways from the conference.
One attendee wrote, “We left the session with ideas that could have an impact on all SCORES sites as early as this fall.”
SCORESCon attendees from all 12 programs left the District with a plethora of new program and curricula ideas as well as a renewed sense of focus and energy around their program’s connection to the national America SCORES network.
We left the session with ideas that could have impact on all SCORES Sites as early as this fall.
As an alumni of the program and someone who has invested a lot of my time in trying to build our alumni program it was great to listen to other sites’ strategies in recruiting and maintaining a strong alumni network.
Honestly the best part of SCORES Con is getting everyone in the network to share the unique and innovative things they are doing in their city - whether it’s a small tweak to Game Day structure or a new external partner like UpMetrics.