The Pleasant Lea Middle School football team has focused on character and integrity through a variety of activities this fall. Speakers have visited the team’s practices to discuss character traits such as teamwork, family and responsibility. The individuals emphasized that while it is easy to talk and think about such words and ideas, it is quite another to live these words each day.
Team coaches also organized two days during the football season devoted to service projects.
“Players and coaches had the opportunity to do just that — show our team’s character,” said Matt Sisk, football coach. “The challenge was to put service over self, if you will.”
On Sept. 24, 28 members of the football team worked outdoors at Pleasant Lea Middle School and Pleasant Lea Elementary. The students and coaches spent approximately two hours picking up trash and beautifying the two school campuses. They also freshened up the mulch placed in garden beds last year by PLMS’s business partner, Abundant Life Church.
The second two-hour service day, held Oct. 8, was in partnership with Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation at Lea McKeighan Park. Brooke Chestnut, the Lee’s Summit parks operations supervisor, and one of her employees, Liz Drentlaw, helped organize the day and advised the students at the site.
A total of 26 team members planted 14 trees around the edge of the park, picked up trash, freshened up mulch and weeded several flower beds.
“These days were such a great experience for the coaches and the kids.” Mr. Sisk added. “ We have had other coaches at PLMS inquire about possibly doing these types of activities with their teams as the year progresses, so the hope is for more of our student athletes, and for students not involved in sports as well, to gain this kind of exposure to service opportunities around the community.”
Not only is service a great team-building activity, but it also stretches students to wrestle with some of the voices they may hear in today’s culture that tell them to only look out for themselves, the coach added.
“We at PLMS think that service to others is a vital part of any healthy community, and we certainly want that for our kids,” Mr. Sisk said.
Players work at the school campus.