NSCRO Selects Building a Lasting Culture
May 6, 2019
In 2016, the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) and Penn Mutual teamed up to highlight the exceptional skill levels of some of small college’s best female rugby players and provide an avenue for personal growth and exposure to the highest levels of women’s rugby. The end result of this partnership was the creation of the NSCRO Women’s Selects, a team of elite female student-athletes from small colleges around the country. Each year the NSCRO Selects come together from points around the country to compete in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) and Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) tournaments. Seeing success from previous year’s editions, in 2019, the program grew to include two teams at the LVI. Having seen only semi-final appearances in each previous tournament, through hard work and determination, not just one, but both teams made it to the finals and squared off in a thrilling championship match.
Despite the success on the field, the NSCRO Selects program is about more than winning. It is about helping develop women leaders on and off the rugby pitch. Lessons learned with the NSCRO Selects can be taken back to college rugby teams and used throughout the player’s lifetimes. Bryn Chivers, who has been an active member of the rugby community for several decades, spearheads the program and has built a culture based on a number of key values.
“The program is more than just an opportunity to play the game. While the game affords our players the opportunity to play on a bigger stage, we want the experience with the NSCRO Selects to transcend the weekend. By teaching and reinforcing values that are inherent in the game of rugby we are able to have a lasting impact on the members of our program,” Chivers said.
One of the main things Bryn stresses is the importance of representation. Many of these girls will never have the opportunity to reach a national final with their college teams or play on a grand stage. The NSCRO Selects program offers many of these players a unique opportunity to shine. As a result, the program stresses the importance of representing the team with pride and honor.
“On a personal level these players represent themselves, their colleges, their conferences all the women of NSCRO and Penn Mutual. All of that they carry with them for every minute that they are there,” Chivers added. “We want players to understand that there are always consequences for our actions, positive and negative, and these consequence impact more than ourselves. Acting with integrity and showing respect for the game are paramount to any success we have on the field.”
Integrity is a key component that Chivers emphasizes over and over. Playing within the rules and always doing the right thing on and off the pitch are key behaviors that he looks for when selecting players. Character is important and something the program tries to build in its limited time with the young women.
“The game has a set of values that we try and adhere to. The game is an immensely physical game but after the final whistle you get up and shake your opposite numbers hand with respect. We want players that do the rights things and make the right decisions on the field and after their time with us.”
In addition to the value of integrity, the NSCRO Selects focuses on building a real sense of community. Although the time together is very short, the bonds and relationships outlast the weekend. The program is committed to team building. From ice breakers to housing assignments, the program is designed to build trust and support.
“Everything is designed to get the players used to being a part of this specific group and setting the highest standard for everything they do.”
Culture and core values are critical to success for any person, team, program or company. While all the players will eventually move on, they have set a standard of excellence for all those that follow and ensure success for the future of the program.
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