The Del Norte football program is still hard at work on the gridiron this week, but with no game on Friday to prepare for, the Warriors have spent a little extra time looking at leadership. Although the sport of football itself can help foster leadership qualities in young athletes, the Del Norte varsity and junior varsity teams have been challenged to look at leadership from a different angle this week.

Del Norte head coach Lewis Nova said the Warriors were able to secure some grant funding through Wild Rivers Community Foundation for the purpose of fostering leadership.

“We wanted to introduce the players to different things that are out there — to broaden their horizons and show them that they can be anything that they want if they put their minds to it,” Nova said. “I went to Ashley Goodman to help us out because she has a lot of background in things like this.”

Last week coaches divided players into eight squads, with varsity and JV players on each squad. Each team is responsible for creating a logo and/or a slogan for the Del Norte Warriors that could be printed on a T-shirt.

“There are many teams now and they are working with each other from seniors down to freshmen,” Nova said. “We are going to see who is going to grab the bull by the horns and who is going to make their group successful.”

Players were instructed to keep in mind what would be marketable for the community and think about how that would change if they took their product to another state or city.

“If we are going to challenge them there is no right or wrong answer — it is just challenging. It is just getting them to think outside of the box,” Goodman said. “Sometimes society pinpoints what we should be doing, and I feel like this project just allows them to be creative in their own right. This may force them to go outside of their comfort zone. They may not want to be an entrepreneur, but at some point they may be in a leadership position and need those skills to manage people.”

Over the past week, the groups completed their designs and on Wednesday they met before practice to present their projects to the rest of the team.

“I was pleasantly surprised with some of the avenues that they chose to go with that I didn’t even think about — with some two-tone shirts or putting in a full body logo,” Nova said. “It was great to see the creativity.”

“I thought it went really well for the first time,” Goodman added. “It was kind of spur of the moment this year, but they all took their project and actually put some thought into it, which is what we wanted.”

Now that each team has completed its project, the Warriors are calling on the community to vote on their favorite design to help them determine the top team.

“We also wanted to include the community,” Nova said. “Just like a business we are going to go out and we can call it research marketing. Is this good? Is it worth it? Is it something that people are interested in? Then we are also asking them to think about where they would go after that. What would they do outside this area if it took off and everybody just loved it? We are having them think not only as a little fish, but as a big fish — or a big Warrior.”

Anyone is allowed to vote for their favorite project, though the team is asking that everyone only vote once. Voting will be held online at www.triplicate.com. and will be open for one week starting on Monday and closing on Sunday. The poll will appear near the bottom of the Triplicate’s home page under the “Extra” section.

The design for each of the eight teams will be added to the online version of this story once the designs are approved by the school.

Although the voting will only be open for one week, final results will be announced at the end of the season as part of the football team’s annual awards banquet.

Lot of room to grow

Although both Nova and Goodman said they wanted to keep the project small in its first year, there are lots of ways in which the activity could grow in the future.

“For me, this is something that I would like to do year in and year out,” Nova said. “Already we have started bouncing around ideas, and maybe we will try to do this during spring training in the future. That way we would have more time and the kids have more time as well. If we didn’t have a bye week this week we really couldn’t be doing this right now.”

This year the winning design will be printed for members of the winning team. One possible way that the project could evolve is as a fundraiser, with the players in charge of determining how many shirts to print, and how best to distribute them.

“I think that is the idea that we are going towards, but in the beginning we wanted to just start out small,” Goodman said.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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