The ways people work have changed dramatically in recent years, but one thing is always true: everything is better with teamwork. Not only is it essential for success in the workplace, but building teamwork skills is also an investment in your career!
Learning important teamwork skills like clear communication, effective collaboration and critical thinking start early on. For youth, there are many opportunities to learn how to work as a team, from local Boys & Girls Clubs to playgroups, sports teams and collaborative projects.
But right now, young people are struggling to develop teamwork skills due to isolation and social disconnection stemming from COVID-19, and it’s left many kids feeling alone and anxious. According to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s youth data, nearly ⅓ of youth say they could improve their teamwork, and with the need for reconnection in a post-pandemic world, teaching teamwork is a priority for many parents, teachers and caregivers.
We spoke to two Club alumni and one former Club counselor, each turned NASCAR-industry professional, to find out what keeps the wheels turning before, during and after race day and why developing teamwork skills is critical to success both on and off the track.
There’s No “I” in Teamwork
Executing one NASCAR race takes around twelve hundred people working cohesively toward a common goal, showing just how much the organization relies on great teamwork — a skill these colleagues learned early on at Boys & Girls Clubs.
Arlette Fernandez, Boys & Girls Club of St. Simons Island
— Senior Director, Multicultural & Youth Marketing, NASCAR
“My Club was an amazing introduction to teamwork. I worked as a camp counselor during the summers — there were eight of us and we had one big team working together to run camp. I remember that’s where I learned how to make on-the-spot decisions, build professional relationships and handle logistics,” Arlette explained.
Just like summer camp at the Club, NASCAR has a lot of moving parts, with many racing teams and staff involved from week to week. The reality for NASCAR — and the business world overall — is that people can’t effectively get the job done by working in silos. Throughout the organization, NASCAR “walks the talk” when it comes to teamwork and collaborates every step of the way.
R.J. Barnette, Boy & Girls Club of Hueytown
— Pit Crew Member for Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports
“Teamwork is essential to anything in life,” R.J. told us. “Virtually every NASCAR racing job relies on relationships with other people, and it’s important to have others around you who are accountable and will hold you accountable in return.”
Racing is a team sport, and R.J.’s team has become like family after a decade of working together. What makes their teamwork so effective? R.J. explained it as a mix of “good communication, mutual support and a strong sense of trust in one another”— skills he learned from attending the Club many years ago.
The Club gave R.J. a place to learn and connect with his peers while also exploring his interests, which plays into his career today as he encourages each of his teammates to keep the entire crew in mind while pursuing their individual goals.
Clubs across the country
are helping youth develop teamwork skills by providing them with safe, positive and inclusive environments so they’re empowered to learn and connect with their peers and explore their interests as R.J described.
Kreig Robinson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
— Director, Partnership Management, 23XI Racing
Being an effective teammate means being open, honest and accountable for your actions. It’s something Kreig learned during his formative years at his local Club. “It’s impossible to do everything yourself, so teamwork is crucial to success,” said Kreig. He also added that it’s important to be vulnerable with teammates to build trust and collaboration.
“Racing is about going to win, and you can’t win by yourself,” he explained. “You have to reach out to your team, ask for help and leverage everyone’s strengths for the greater good. I’ll never forget my Club sports teams — that’s where I learned that we win or lose, together; see what we’re made of, together; and realize the results of giving it our all or not, together.”
6 Tips Kids Can Learn (And Adults Can Teach) to Drive Great Teamwork
Teamwork increases productivity, creativity, innovation and job satisfaction. So what are some qualities Club kids can nurture in order to be better teammates?
- Focus on communicating clearly and openly to build trust
- Take accountability for your actions and responsibilities
- Recognize the accomplishments of your teammates
- Remember that no one can achieve a goal alone and that everyone makes valuable contributions
- Ask for support when you need it
- Join a diverse team and learn from everyone’s unique perspectives
Developing Teamwork Skills Starts Here
Teamwork makes the dream work! That’s why Boys & Girls Clubs across the country teach kids essential life skills such as effective communication, collaboration and critical thinking, so they’re ready to be a team player when the opportunity shows up. Learn how Clubs are preparing young people so they can be successful in college, careers and life and how we can help you, too.
As the Official Youth Community Partner of NASCAR
, Boys & Girls Clubs of America works with NASCAR to enrich the lives of 3.6 million young people across the country through life & workforce readiness career exploration and programming.
As the Official Youth Community Partner of NASCAR
, Boys & Girls Clubs of America works with NASCAR to enrich the lives of 3.6 million young people across the country through life & workforce readiness career exploration and programming. NASCAR programming is inclusive of at-track, career immersion experiences, at-Club events and STEM-focused, online learning modules
on Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s digital learning platform, MyFuture
. The combination of all these elements allow youth across the nation to learn and engage with the sport and racing-themed STEM learning without geographical or economic barriers.