Kickin’ It for Appreciation
01/20/2019 · by Francis Riley
Students at Hill Country Christian School in Austin, Texas wanted their Impact Project to honor the people they respected in their community. Their project, a Kickball Game, was initially focused on the military and their families but soon expanded to encompass men and women in emergency services.
“We have two students in the program whose fathers serve in the military, so the project was close to home,” explained Amy Kranz, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy Facilitator. While Austin isn’t a military community, the personal connection drove students to focus on recognizing the people that defend our country. That focus quickly swelled. “Soon, they realized that it was just as important to them to honor the people who protect and serve in our local communities— our firefighters, police officers, and more.”
With help from their sponsoring Chick-fil-A Operator, Bruce Crisler, and his staff, students were able to host a spirit night to raise extra funds and also received Chick-fil-A sandwich donations for their concession stand. From there, students took on the weighty task of planning a four-hour event that involved multiple Kickball games and participants, family fun activities, as well as a trove of task level minutia that is only realized when you start plotting a plan.
“Students figured out very quickly that this was going to be a lot of work,” laughed Amy. “But they never wavered; they were very committed to doing a quality job.”
Students lined up everything— from cash boxes to kickballs. In addition to the game, the event provided music, carnival games, concessions, and inflatables to make it a truly fun family day. They even purchased and created custom gift baskets and secured tickets to an I Heart Radio music festival that night, raffled off during the event.
The experience of planning these events often pushes students out of their comfort zone and it takes restraint for Facilitators to step back and let students find their way.
“So many times you want to step in, but you have to put your faith in the skills they have developed in the program,” explained Amy. “From the beginning of the program to the event, I have seen growth in every single student,” said Amy. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the confidence that is built by pushing through challenges and by serving others.”
“Sponsoring and participating in Chick-fil-A Leader Academy has been such an honor and privilege,” described Operator Bruce Crisler, who also attended the school’s Impact Project along with his wife and his marketing director. He sees the program, and the culminating Impact Project, as an opportunity for students to learn valuable team building and servant leadership skills. “They not only learned to work together and solve problems, but these students used those skills to show support and appreciation for those who willingly put themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy the quality of life we do.”