If you follow us on social media, you will have seen the success of the 'MAP to One Club' programme that has been running over the past few weeks. Developed by our Game Development Officer, Li'i Alaimoana, ‘MAP (Marist Academy Players) to One Club’ is a three-week program that sees Senior rugby players join Junior trainings to support junior coaches with areas of interest.
After the programme wrapped on Tuesday night, we asked Li'i to reflect on the success of the programme:
"The MAP to One Club programme has been uplifting and inspiring. You see the kids eyes light up and their intensity lift when senior players get involved in their sessions. Then you see the senior players get stuck into helping and find a different side of the game that was missing from their lives for a period of time - the fun of it all.
Bringing both the senior and junior clubs together over the past few weeks is a timely reminder that, like any sports academy, experience guides the few. But in the case of the MAP to One Club programme, the goal is that we all come together to guide ALL players playing for Marist St Pats, and that we value each and every player, from Junior to Senior.
Seeing all Junior players, junior coaches, senior players and Captains from the Men's and Women's Premier teams, the Premier 2, the U85kg, the Internationals, and the Colts from the senior club; seeing it all come together and everyone getting involved is a memory to cherish. Hopefully, these are the memories that help our juniors enjoy the game more, and come back to the club as seniors, and continue the cycle created through the programme.
We often get caught in the 'winning' side of it all, that we often lose sight of the 'growing' aspect of it all. Even at the highest level, there's always room to grow. Sometimes growing entails us to look back at how we started. A common thread as mentioned by many of the senior players involved was that the programme reminded them of junior rugby, and brought back fond memories, and why they enjoyed the game as a child.
Witnessing the joy on the faces of our young, and nostalgia in the faces of some of the senior men and women that helped during MAP and their anticipation, these are the moments that live long in memory. Hopefully those memories bring our juniors back to the 'One Club' they started with when they leave college."
Junior Convenor Bevan Brocklehurst also saw the value the programme added for our next generation. 'It is a big step towards building a one club culture and investing in afuture that our players, club members and whanau will want to be a part of. It is a win/win situation where everyone benefits from the engagement and interaction between the senior and junior club.'