Sarah Bullock, The Olympia Downtown YMCA’s “Go To” Coach!


.: Olympia’s All Star Ford :.


From Left Sarah Is In The Back Row Second One In
From Left Sarah Is In The Back Row Second One In

By Anne Larsen

“The Y nurtures potential. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.”

From Spring till Fall you will see an invasion of youngsters in YMCA soccer jerseys throughout Thurston County. It is downright impossible to grocery shop, eat out, or hit the park without seeing the famous Y logo and kids with shin guards and goofy grins. The elementary school fields are packed with cheering parents and happy kids, water bottles and snacks are waiting, and good sportsmanship and friendship is the name of the game.

The Y depends on returning coaches and parents to coach the dozens of soccer teams it organizes every season. There is a constant need for coaches, and there is one person that they can always count on to step up and volunteer – Y kid herself, Sarah Bullock. Sarah “grew up” at the downtown Y where her mom worked and where she played Y sports growing up. At the age of 15 she starting working at the Y, refereeing games and being a counselor at sports camps. She has now been at the Y for 7 years. “When I was little I was pretty active and my parents wanted to get me involved in sports. It was super convenient and affordable (the Y never turns away any child) and the people that work at the Y are fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed the people and the downtown Y!”

If you’ve had a kid in Y soccer you know the enormous time and energy commitment these coaches give to the kids. I’ve coached my own kid (once was enough), so I appreciate the massive amounts of patience and diplomacy it takes to keep the kids and parents happy and excited about soccer. When the Y is short a coach, they call on Sarah. “If they need something I’ll do it, I’m a pretty agreeable person.”  The parents love her, and the kids love her. She provides positive feedback to the kids, but on top of that she puts safety first. “Sarah has a great demeanor, and allows the kids to be competitive but fair.” states Paul Bliss, Y Youth Development Assistant Director.  Last year Sarah added field supervisor to her list of responsibilities, which means she’s pretty much in charge of just about everything.

Her co-workers and supervisors praise Sarah in how she handles every situation that’s put in front of. She never loses her cool or temper. “Sarah is sharp, reliable, level head, and makes sound judgment calls. She embodies the Y principles: youth development, strong kids, strong families, strong community.” states Paul.  Even when she needs to be firm and even tempered she still has the uncanny ability to really gel with the kids.  “I’m really more interested in the kids, they are so fun and easy to impress! I see that for a lot of kids that this is their outlet, it’s their whole world.”

Sarah tells me, “the Y has 4 core values. I would hope that no matter what I do I will use those 4 core values. That is the really big thing that I learned from the Y.”

 The Y’s 4 Core Values are:

Caring: to demonstrate a sincere concern for others, for their needs and well-being. Related values: compassion, forgiveness, generosity, and kindness.

Honesty: to tell the truth, to demonstrate reliability and trustworthiness through actions that are in keeping with my stated positions and beliefs. Related values: integrity and fairness.

Respect: to treat others as I would want them to treat me, to value the worth of every person, including myself. Related values: acceptance, empathy, self-respect and tolerance.

Responsibility: to do what is right–what I ought to do, to be accountable for my choices of behavior and actions and my promises. Related values: commitment, courage, good health, service and citizenship.

All of us are lucky to have volunteers, coaches, and referees like Sarah to guide our kids and demonstrate the best of sports and athletics. Kids come out for Y sports to have fun, learn the fundamentals, garner some basic skills and the meaning of sportsmanship. Sarah learned those values as a kid and now passes them on to the next generation of Y youngsters. “When I think about my future the Y (especially the downtown Y)  will always be a part of my life. I always want to be involved and stay connected.”

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