Playmakers Launch at Skycrest Elementary

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  Story and Photos by Jacqueline Fox
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From left to right, Skycrest Elementary students Kevin Martinez, Clarissa Viers, Marcelo Cruz and Raonak Bajracharya have some fun in the computer lab on the first day of Playmakers.

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Coach Roz gets new participants to know new Playmakers on day one at Skycrest Elementary.

It started with a few head-butts and then a fist-bump or two. Then, they got down to character.

“We’re going to do a lot of fun things in here,” Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler,” founder and executive director of Playmakers told the 16 new Skycrest Elementary school recruits who were enjoying day one of the program at their school. “But first and foremost, we are going to be working really really hard on our core values in here,” he added, and then called on each student to stand, say the name of their favorite sport and color, then greeted each with an official head-butt.

It’s not all fun and games, however, as students enrolled in Playmakers must work hard on improving their academic skills, which includes a primary focus on reading, as well as leadership, mentorship of other students, field and team sports prowess and overall good values.

“This isn’t daycare,” said Roeszler. “This about teaching core values and creating a path to leadership.”

Playmakers is a year-round program launched in 2009 at Cordova Meadows Elementary. Including Skycrest, Playmakers is now in operation at six elementary schools across Sacramento County, including the communities of Fair Oaks and Folsom, as well as a seventh school in Woodland.

Participants will use the computer lab at Skycrest for reading tutorials, play team sports on the field and take part in field trips and special events, including excursions to Stanford University to meet players and watch games, as well as football games at Sacramento State and San Juan High School, Roeszler said.

Roeszler said the entire success of the program hinges upon students’ ability to work as a team. He added that it’s also important to know the parents and schools are also key players.

“I just want the community of Citrus Heights to know how much of a team effort this whole program is,” Roeszler said. “This is a program of so many possibilities and they are all really endless. It’s also not just a story about our program, but there will be ongoing stories of the kids’ progress, what happens to them in this program, how they grow and change, learn to serve others and, most importantly how they evolve.”

Support for the program at Skycrest comes in part from the Citrus Heights Rotary Club and Citrus Heights Optimists International, Roeszler said. “We can’t thank them enough for helping us make this possible at Skycrest.”

From left to right, Skycrest Elementary students Kevin Martinez, Clarissa Viers, Marcelo Cruz and Raonak Bajracharya have some fun in the computer lab on the first day of Playmakers.Coach Roz gets new participants to know new Playmakers on day one at Skycrest Elementary.Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler gives a head-butt to program participant Aidan Adams, a 4th grader on day one of Playmakers at Skycrest Elementary.