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The Nitty-Gritty on 
Ice Cream and the Rocky Road Back

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation
There simply wasn’t enough time to sit down with every family during the Hoop Shoot finals. We had to pick families who either filled a need--they could provide insight on one of the volunteers we were following in the feature film--or had an angle.
No stranger to the Hoop Shoot, Korrie Holcer knows that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Still, a lucky penny can't hurt any.

The Holcers were a natural choice for a sit-down because they had not one but two angles. First, you have Korrie following in big sister Kiera’s footsteps. Korrie was competing in her first finals--in the girls 8- to 9-year-old division--but two years earlier, she was in Springfield as a spectator. And watched Kiera win that same division.
Second, you have the opportunity to check in on the ice cream shop. The film starts with a clip of Kiera speaking to the delegates at the 2013 Elks National Convention in Reno. Kiera didn’t just win a championship that year. As the best overall female shooter, she also won the Getty Powell Award and an appearance at the Convention.
In the clip, she tells the story that inspired the name of the film. In a nutshell, her father promised to buy her an ice cream shop if she sank all 25 shots at the finals. She did. Here's Kiera’s full speech:

That story also leads us into the grit series. And I should say here that we didn’t set out to film a series of stories about grit. That happened organically. When contestants and families talk about the benefits of participation in the Hoop Shoot, the grit thing just happens (which lends credence to everything we’re saying).
Goal-setting is a key to developing grit. The idea is to get kids to set long-term goals and then work hard to achieve them.
Now, think about Sisyphus and the bolder he had to push up a hill for all eternity. That’s one approach. Not giving up when you know you’re doomed to fail certainly takes grit. But with kids, developing grit works so much better when they’re working hard at something they love.
That’s why the Hoop Shoot is so effective. Basketball is fun. Kids like it. And free throws, in particular, offer a level playing field. You don’t have to be the biggest, strongest or fastest athlete on the floor to excel. You just have to be willing to put in the time.
And now we weave Korrie back into the story. In the film, her mom describes her as a gym rat. She asks to go to the gym two or three times a day. She’s working hard at something she loves, and she wants to be there. Doing well in the contest is her goal, not her parents’ goal or anyone else’s. It’s hers, and that’s why she goes after it so hard.
In the film, their father tells us that each time he raised the ice cream bar, Kiera would meet the challenge.
Yes, they’re doing something they love. Yes, they’re only 8 to 13 years old. But the lesson is not lost on them, and it translates off the court: Work hard and the rewards will come.
Bribes can’t hurt. Once again, though, we caution you: When you help your kids set goals, they may achieve them.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Ice Cream and the Rocky Road Back.
















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