Changing the Game
Jessica has witnessed first-hand, how favoritism effects certain sports within the athletic community at her high school. She discovered that the Lisbon High sports budget mainly supports the football team while leaving other teams to play with expired equipment and uniforms from decades before, or to play with no materials at all; especially teams like the Special Olympics bocce team. Upon further investigation, Jessica determined that lack of funding is caused by subjectivity - the favoring of sports that produce more popularity, and money to the school system, rather than those that support the students.
Lack of funding is an issue at many schools across the world. Jessica felt that in her community, the Special Olympics is regarded as "less than important" in relation to the football team and she didn't want this to be the case at her school. Jessica stated she "wanted to help people and make something better in our small community that schools across America struggle with."
Jessica addressed the issue of sports bias within her high school by building a Bocce Court. The court engages students on the Special Olympics team, and the school community as a whole, in a social activity that teaches skills such as teamwork and communication. Before the court was built, the Special Olympics team practiced bocce on a spray-painted portion of the soccer field. Because of the density of the grass, it was a poor surface to practice on. The court that Jessica constructed is made of stone dust, which is what bocce games are played on during competitions. This element of Jessica’s court allows the Special Olympics team to get a "feel" of what to expect, before entering a game. It allows them to practice appropriately and allows the ball to move as it should in a regulation court, which will increase their skills and improve how they play.
Jessica’s project is being sustained by the high school’s maintenance team who will take care of the upkeep of the court. Additionally, during her project planning phase, Jessica researched and made sure that the materials used were of high quality, to last through many sports seasons, including pressure-treated lumber and an earth-friendly tarp to prevent weed growth and drainage issues.
When asked about leadership and her project, Jessica said “This project really opened my eyes to the meaning of "Leadership." Taking control over a part of my life and conducting a project is something that has changed my view of myself, and proven to me that with courage and strength, I can become the woman that I dreamed of being as a Brownie.”
“This selective budgeting [issue] may never be resolved across the world, but for those who share this small community with me, I believe I made the world a better place for them.”
Gold Award Girl Scout, Jessica Schlotterbeck
11 Mar 2020
Changing the Game