Seneca High School softball players will be partnering with their younger counterparts for the Seneca Sisters in Softball event on May 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., starting at Seneca’s cafeteria for a pizza party and spreading through the school thereafter.
Now in its fourth year, organizer and high school teacher Chrissy Gerber said all softball players from Seneca’s are welcome to attend.
There are no softball games, however, at the event. Instead, the students practice team-building exercises.
Six to seven teams will be formed will be for the games, Gerber said.
The youngsters will go from station to station with each game lasting about 10 minutes.
Last year’s games included stacking Oreos with chopsticks, fishing their arms through each other to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a relay race with toothpicks and lifesavers and picking up balls while blindfolded, she said.
The games help the students to learn good communication skills, Gerber explained.
“My challenge is to make it cheap,” she said.
The games need to appeal to both the younger children and the high schoolers, she said, without too much difficulty.
Sometimes, she finds inspiration on websites.
The hope is to get the youngsters interested in softball while treating them to a night with their role models, the high school girls, she said.
It lets them see the school they will attend when they get older, she said.
“Get them interested in softball,” she said. “Keep the interest there.”
The public is welcome to come watch, too.
Parents and grandparents of the kids oftentimes come and sometimes volunteer to help with the activities, she said.
Marty Devino, head softball coach at Seneca High School, said parent volunteers pick up pizzas for dinner, clean up and take photographs.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said.
Softball players in kindergarten to eighth-grade can attend at no cost, he said.
“It’s not fair to charge kids for having fun,” he said.
The school hosts a team-building night rather than a night of softball playing, he said, since “any age can do the team-building.”
“Originally when we started, we tried to do softball related stuff,” he said. “Since we have so many age groups … it’s very tough to organize putting everyone in the same spots.”
As of Wednesday, April 25, Devino said 80 kids were signed up to attend.
Interested students should contact their softball director, he said. The school needs to be informed of the proper number of students attending in order for each child to receive pizza and a T-shirt.
“It’s a great time,” he said. “It’s a lot of smiles. My softball kids love it.”
Devino said that the program is a way for the school to give back to the community.
“Seneca is a community school,” he said.
The idea for the team-building exercises came after Lynne Hedden, Tabernacle’s athletic director, had a relative who heard about a team in North Jersey who had a similar program. She called Gerber and the plan began, said Gerber.
The school has also done similar programs for teacher in-service days, Gerber said, as professional-development exercises.
“It’s good for the staff,” she said.
The understanding that comes from the team-building games transcends through all ages, she said.
The kids sure get a work out from the night, Devino said. “We have the kids racing through the schools.”
At the end of the night, the kids will leave with stomachs filled with pizza, new friends and a better sense of how to work as a team.
“We’re all there to help out with the kids and we do what we can,” Devino said. “They’re sweating at the end of the time.”