“It’s about focusing on the fundamentals and giving the girls exposure to a variety of sports,” said Julie Wilson, who has organized the group for the past three seasons. Her daughters, Whitney, 11 and Ellie, 9, both play. Other Raymond moms involved in the program include Carrie Colby, Kristin Fielding, Gina Bolk and Erin Gurney. Windham High School field hockey captain Morgan Richmond, a Raymond resident, has also been instrumental in the program, helping teach the girls the fundamentals and some cool stick-handling tricks. The first time Richmond showed the girls a maneuver, their eyes lit up and they beamed big smiles as they envisioned themselves trying the move during a game.
But Wilson stressed that making sure the girls learn the basics remains the foundation for the program. They learn where they need to be on the field when playing a certain position and the get a better understanding of what the rules are. When they move up to the next level, this knowledge will help them fit into a new team more quickly.
The girls from Raymond have been playing Sunday afternoons against teams from Poland, Bonney Eagle, Lake Region and other area towns. They will participate in a total of three tournaments this fall and will wrap up their season in a round robin tournament at the University of Southern Maine on October 21.
Wilson said that a goal of the program is to prepare the sixth-grade girls to hopefully continue their play for the Windham Middle School team next season. This year there are 10 sixth-grade players in the Raymond program and Wilson said that she’s been in touch with the Windham Middle School coach so that they are on the same page in preparing the girls for further play.
Two graduates of the program, Kora Hunter and Chloe Smith, both from Raymond, played for the Windham Middle School team this year. Additionally, beginning this year RSU 14 has begun providing transportation to Windham for seventh and eighth grade students to participate in the Windham Middle School sports programs that are not offered in Raymond, including field hockey.
To ensure that the girls aren’t forced to make a choice between sports at such a young age, the Raymond program has always been and will continue to be played on Sundays so it does not interfere with Raymond Rec Soccer on Saturdays.