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Stride, Soar, SucceedMaryalice Yakutchik

Stride Soar Succeed (continued)


Tuesday, June 4 / Day 3

When they first met, 11-year-old Alaira Kisto of Gila River, Arizona, told Janine Tucker that she likes basketball best—all the camp kids are crazy about basketball—but wanted to try something new. 

Tucker offered an enthusiastic high-five for that.

Now, three days later, as campers drag sleeping bags and backpacks into buses and vans for the trip home, Tucker finds Alaira and pulls her aside.

“You seem very interested in learning and growing and pushing and challenging yourself,” Tucker begins. “You were very kind to the younger girls and very respectful to the older girls. 

“I brought something special with me that I want to give to you because all of those qualities are so important as you go through life.”

Tucker presents the girl with a treasure from Johns Hopkins Women’s Lacrosse: a Blue Jay team stick. 

“I want you to break it in just like you did your NativeVision stick and make it your own. This is for you,” she says. 

A glaring midday sun notwithstanding, Alaira beams.

Tucker expects to see Alaira back at NativeVision Camp next year, she says, adding she can’t wait to see how good she’ll be then at the stick tricks they practiced so hard these past few days. “I think that you’re going to go really far,” the coach confides.

“I’m going to finish my school and then go on to college,” Alaira insists.

“That’s my girl,” Tucker says. “That’s what I want to hear. I’m going to keep my eye on you.”

“I think that you’re going to go really far." —Janine Tucker, with Alaira Kisto


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