A Busy Fall at SquashBusters

SquashBusters has been in full swing this fall – a senior earns well-deserved recognition, our seventh graders join the team, the class of 2019 reflects on their time with SQB, the staff continues to look for ways to make our programs even better, and some alumni hit the courts!

Congratulations to Angela Cao
Finalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance’s National Scholarship Campaign

 Members of Boston’s SquashBusters Class of 2019 have known for a long time what great friend, teammate, and competitor Angela is. Now she is getting national recognition for those traits, as well.

The Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit dedicated to creating and promoting a positive culture in youth sports. And Angela is a finalist for the PCA’S Triple Impact Competitor Scholarship award, given to the student athlete who works to improve herself, her teammates, and the game as a whole. PCA was so impressed with Angela that they came to SquashBusters to feature her in a video segment.

The staff at SQB is not surprised. A Student Ambassador, Co-captain, member of the Elite Training Squad, and Coach for middle school students, “she is a leader in every sense of the word”, says Program Director Charlie Levinson. As a freshman in high school, she was concerned her class was fragmented, so she petitioned the staff for a retreat and opportunity to bond. Today, the girls are a tight-knit group.

Everyone here at SquashBusters agrees, PCA could not make a better choice. Angela truly exemplifies SQB’s mission of College, Character, and Health. Hoping to pursue a career in Elementary Education, she has her eye on Boston College and they would be lucky to have her.

A Warm Welcome from the Seniors to the 7th Graders!

Last Thursday was a special day at the Boston program as 20 members of our new 7th grade team were introduced. Thirteen more will wrap up their try-outs in the coming the weeks and the team will be complete by the New Year. Try-outs are a six-week process where the students are evaluated not on their squash prowess, but on their commitment, their effort, and their character.

The day also marked a rite of passage for our graduating seniors as they shared personal reflections about their time at SquashBusters and their time in middle school and high school. They spoke about growing up, many as first generation Americans who had to overcome language barriers and prejudice. They spoke about the challenges and struggles they often faced trying to fit in. They spoke about about their passions, their hopes, and their dreams. And some spoke of the role SquashBusters played in all of these.  As one senior put it, “SquashBusters taught me that stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my fears head-on can reveal hidden opportunities. My shell has been broken and I have blossomed into someone new.”

Professional Development at SquashBusters

Here at SquashBusters, we are always striving to make our programs the best they can be, consider what our students truly need, and grow as professionals. To that end, the enitre  SQB team – from Boston, Lawrence and Providence – all came together last month for a valuable Professional Development day. Megan Bartlett, founder of We Coach, an organization dedicated training coaches and teachers, spent the morning educating staff on the latest brain science and research around what young people need to succeed.  Megan stressed that young people need whole webs of support, in addition to one on one mentoring relationships, She pointed out that one of SquashBusters’ greatest strengths might be that we provide a safe, predictable space for our students, where they receive equal parts enthusiasm, engagement, and support. Everyone left energized, armed with a greater understanding of what our students need to succeed and new ideas for their programs.

Alumni Squash League in Full Swing

Proving that squash truly is a sport for a lifetime, our alumni league is seeing one if its busiest and most successful seasons yet. The men’s league has nine players and a record of  2 -4. The seven women are undefeated at 4-0.  Matches are played against other area clubs such as the University Club, Cambridge Athletic Club, and Union Boat Club. The matches are Tuesday nights so come cheer on some old friends. And check out the Alumni Facebook Page to see more great alumni opportunities.

Staff Spotlight

Ness Ariffin

In addition to being an incredible coach for our Boston Middle School Team, Ness Ariffin is also a world-class squash professional. Ranked #134 in the world, she is rapidly moving up the professional ladder. Her latest effort came at the Rhode Island Open last month where she lost a hard-fought battle against Nicloe Bunyan, ranked at #59. Ness’ goal is to break into the top 100. SquashBusters will be there cheering her on all the way.