THE HOT SHOTS STORY
Hot Shots is unlike any sports program you have ever experienced. For the last 22 years, we have built girls’ self-esteem, athletic skills, and sense of belonging in a supportive, fun-filled, non-competitive environment while providing parents a rare opportunity to play, learn and bond with their daughter.
We use puppets, parachutes, pillow fights and other unique tools to help girls enjoy trying new and often difficult things. We play unique, often silly games that appeal to the girls’ imaginations and demonstrate that learning can be fun. Girls pretend to be boa constrictors, thieves, or alligators — all in the course of learning soccer skills.
There is no competition. No one is ever placed in a situation where their skill level might embarrass them or one of their friends. The only “competition” is within each girl. Each week, we challenge each girl to push herself to try something new to improve her skills.
We also strive to build a sense of belonging and of being special. At the beginning and end of each session, we sing a Hot Shots song and introduce several girls, learning about their “favorite things” and shouting out their names. The colorful Hot Shots T-shirts also create a pride of membership. Every girl’s name is on the front of the shirt and one girl’s soccer drawing is on the back. (On the fourth Sunday, all the girls draw soccer pictures that are voted on by the girls in each session of each age group. The winners are imprinted on that group’s T-shirts.) The shirts are distributed at graduation along with a medal.
To create a culture of pride, we use strong women role models as coaches, including college and high school varsity soccer players.
Hot Shots also supports reading and giving back to our community. In 2009, we purchased 1,300 used children’s books for our new Hot Shots “library” so girls can take 2-3 books home to read every week (since then, parents have donated hundreds of their used books, too). The sale of Hot Shots souvenirs funds our “Reading Is A Kick” program that has donated over $13,000 worth of books to Marshfield’s five elementary schools. The girls sign the books’ inside covers, and we hold ceremonies at each library with the girls from each school giving the books to their librarian and principal.
Hot Shots is so special to girls that some postpone birthday parties to attend our graduation party. Hot Shots is so effective that coaches marvel each spring at our graduates’ growth. Above all, Hot Shots is fun. Where else can girls play soccer to their favorite tunes and learn skills using puppets and pillow fights?
Numbers tell the story: Since 1996, more than 4,500 girls have graduated from Hot Shots. Most girls return year after year, and many come back to coach after they’re too old to play.
At a time when our daughters are subjected to so many confusing and demeaning influences, Hot Shots strengthens girls’ self esteem and self-image, helping to arm them for the challenges that lay ahead.
— John Wilpers, Founder and Director