Seymour girls basketball starts little sis program


Seymour has always had a solid youth program, but the girls basketball team wanted to find a way to do something more with it.

Bridget Longmeier and JV coach Amanda Gerth connected with Amber Williams, the youth coordinator with lady Owls basketball, and they decided to create a little sister program.

The idea started this summer, and that’s when the ball got rolling. They put out a form on social media, and the goal was to match up the younger lady Owls with the girls on the high school team during Seymour’s basketball camp.

“We were trying to think of ways to connect the youth with the high school girls,” Longmeier said. “They’re always such great role models and student-athletes.”

Ever since the camp over the summer, the high school players have group messages with the younger girls and always try to be interactive with them, like texting them how their first day of school was earlier this fall.

Seymour senior Grace Schrader specifically had a special bond with a little sis named Mana, who spoke very little English.

Mana’s mom wrote Schrader a letter after the summer, saying how Mana had never played basketball before, but Schrader made her feel comfortable.

“Knowing that she didn’t speak English and that she had never played basketball before, it was nice being able to help her more than anything else because she was really sweet,” Schrader said. “I really liked getting to know her.”

Schrader wants to be an elementary teacher, so she loves being able to be a role model to these younger girls as a big sis.

“I love being able teach kids and having certain kids that I get to know a lot more,” she said

It’s moments like that one that are the reasons Longmeier and company wanted to start this program.

“They are excited about it,” Longmeier said. “We just wanted to create some excitement and create some bonding with the younger girls to the older girls.”

The latest development from the little sis program came last Thursday when Seymour hosted Brown County for a scrimmage. The younger girls all attended the game wearing the same little sis shirts, and they were provided a bingo card that had things such as three-pointer, free throw, layup, foul, air ball, to fill out as they watched the game.

Needless to say the younger kids were quite engaged trying to accomplish a bingo.

“Bingo we thought would be a fun way for them to pay attention and be engaged while watching the game,” Longmeier said.

After the scrimmage, they got to go into the locker room with the team and be a part of postgame scene.

Longmeier hopes to have more little sis nights at ball games throughout this upcoming season. They’re also hoping to do some stuff off the court, like a potential Christmas party down the road.

“I think the sky is the limit with it, really,” Longmeier said. “I feel like the high school girls will really take it and run with it. They really are a caring group of girls. They are role models. A lot of them do have little siblings, so they know how to relate to kids.”

This also helps grow the foundation of Seymour girls basketball. By getting the younger kids to interact with the high school players and create these close relationships, it could help improve and steady the pipeline within the program.

“That’s our hope is the only thing they know is to be a lady Owl,” Longmeier said. “They want to come in here and they want to play in this gym and play with these girls.”

“Basketball in girls is struggling to keep girls wanting to play,” Schrader said. “Having all of the people showing out for our camps and little sis program is really nice because the program needs more girls to keep playing.”

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