The Stories

Through the use of puppets and stories that feature real-life situations experienced by a children's soccer team, the Footprints for Life program offers many opportunities for students to practice the new skills they have learned in a fun and non-threatening way.  Below are the stories for each lesson that will be shared with the children during the program.

Lesson 1

Coach Katrina Kangaroo recently came back home to go to community college.  She had lost her athletic scholarship at a university because she was abusing alcohol and cigarettes.  She has volunteered to coach a group of local kids in the second and third grade.  Today is the first day of practice.  Returning players are Sarina Fox, who is bragging about how her dad took off from an important meeting to watch her practice, and Betsy Beaver, who is known to be a great goalie and very kind.  Betsy introduces her younger cousin, Ricardo Raccoon, who is now living with her because his dad died in an accident.  Pete Porcupine is also new.  He feels nervous and upset because his mom forgot to drive him to practice.  Pete gets agitated easily and overreacts when Sarina hogs the ball.  Coach Katrina sees the team struggling.  She teaches Pete and the other players about feelings and demonstrates how to use an “I” message.  As each of the characters tells a little about themselves, they come to appreciate their unique personalities and family situations.  Soon the whole team begins to share their feelings and learn more about each other.

Lesson 2

The team is challenged to choose a name and design for their soccer shirts. Together, Betsy Beaver, Ricardo Raccoon, and Pete Porcupine discuss some ideas for team names and color and a design for the team shirts.  Ricardo suggests the Green Bandits.  Pete suggests they call themselves Lightning and wear blue shirts with golden lightning flashes.  Everyone knows that Sarina Fox will be the most difficult to please, so they are hesitant to include her in the discussion.  When Sarina comes by and finds out they are trying to come up with a name, she is insulted that no one asked for her opinion.   She makes fun of both Green Bandits and Lightning.  The team goes into conflict mode with angry feelings all around.  In desperation, they go to Coach Katrina Kangaroo for help.  She teaches them how to use the Solution Stoplight™t to solve the problem:

Stop light 






Stop. Take time to cool off. Take deep breaths or count to ten.




Approach the situation slowly and with caution. Each person gives an “I” Message and states the problem as they see it. Everyone works together to brainstorm as many solutions as possible.



Go. Choose the idea on which everyone can agree.


With the Coach’s help, Sarina and Pete role-play the steps in the Solution Stoplight, showing the proper way to stand and face one another. They make sure their voices and attitudes are respectful.  Soon, they come up with some ideas that the others seem to like.  Everyone agrees on the name Shooting Stars and decides that their team shirts will be blue with gold stars.  Coach Katrina is proud and says this sounds like a win-win solution.

Lesson 3

Ricardo Racoon wants to go see the new release at the movies.  Everyone is going, and they start pressuring him to join them.  Unfortunately, he has used up all his allowance (lack of planning ahead).  He tells Betsy Beaver his problem.  She suggests borrowing from her mom, and paying it back later with his next allowance.  Betsy’s mom is nowhere to be found.  Because he doesn’t want to be left out, Ricardo decides to take the money from his aunt’s purse without asking.  He isn’t thinking ahead about how his aunt might feel or the consequences of his actions.  What a mess!  His mother makes him miss soccer practice for two weeks.  Then she says he must tell the coach why.

Coach Katrina Kangaroo meets Ricardo looking very dejected.  She listens sympathetically to his dilemma.  She tells him that she used to make lots of bad decisions too, because she wanted to do what her friends were doing, like going to parties, drinking beer, and smoking cigarettes.  Coach Katrina wanted to be popular!  She forgot about her goals to be a good student and keep her soccer scholarship.  When the others hear about Ricardo’s punishment, some start teasing him and calling him “sticky fingers,” while others talk about some of their own bad decisions or lack of planning.  Coach Katrina reminds the team that just because you make a bad decision, it doesn’t mean you are a bad kid.  It does help to plan ahead and consider the consequences.

Lesson 4

Sarina Fox is seen smoking a cigarette by Betsy Beaver, Ricardo Raccoon, and Pete Porcupine.  Sarina thinks she looks cool.  Everyone else is upset with her, and they begin to question her about why she is smoking.  Pete shares that he wants his mother to stop, and she gets mad when he tells her to.  Sarina responds that her Dad smokes and she can’t understand why she can’t.  Coach Katrina Kangaroo comes along and explains that laws are set up to guide people to make healthy choices and protect their young, growing bodies and brains.  She shows them some of the ingredients in tobacco smoke.  Everyone is shocked.  Finally, she tells her story of wanting to fit in, and how she lost her scholarship because she chose to start smoking and use alcohol.  She teaches the team about legal and illegal drugs.  Katrina also explains that you must be careful using some household chemicals, as well as medicines.  These chemicals, called drugs, affect your body and brain. She tells the team about how advertisers try to trick you into using tobacco and alcohol to make money.  Sarina decides to do her science project on smoking tobacco.  She’ll call it Truth and Consequences.

Lesson 5

Betsy injures her leg in the last game before the championship and will not be able to play in the big game!  She is feeling upset, angry, and helpless and lashes out at her teammates.  They all feel sorry for her, but don’t know what to do.  They ask the Coach for help.  Coach Katrina empathizes with Betsy because she too loved soccer and missed out because of her decision to smoke and drink alcohol.  She lost her scholarship and felt really sad and embarrassed.  Katrina describes some healthy ways to deal with disappointments and upset feelings.  She decided to coach the team as a way of coping with her sad and embarrassed feelings instead of moping around the house and complaining.

Some of the other team members recall times they felt like moping and someone gave them a healthier idea.  Ricardo talks about his sad feelings about his Dad and how talking to his Mom helps.  Pete responds that his grandmother tells him to go ride his bike when he gets upset about his Mom forgetting to pick him up.  Sarina even tells about how she likes to listen to music and dance when she’s feeling frustrated.  Finally, the Coach suggests to Betsy that she can help plan for the championship game by being her assistant and making sure the first aid kit is in tact, orange slices are ready, and water bottles are full.   Pete and Ricardo have an idea that Betsy could make some banners for the game.  They could all come to her house to help.  Betsy starts feeling a little better and wonders who will take her place in the big game.   Oh, says the Coach, we will have a new kid next week, and we have to see what position he can play.  Everyone starts asking questions about the new kid but the coach just smiles.  They will just have to wait till next week!

Lesson 6

Amir Armadillo, the new kid, is feeling anxious because he doesn’t know anyone on the team.  He’s afraid the other kids might make fun of him because he doesn’t have hair, has a long snout, and eats bugs.  He misses his old friends and wonders if joining this soccer team was a good idea.  Betsy Beaver is still a little sad about missing the game, but she has kept busy making sure the first aid kit is supplied and the oranges are cut up.  She has also worked with the others to create some banners for the championship game.  Betsy has discovered that crafts make her feel better. Sarina Fox is feeling great because Coach Katrina Kangaroo has selected her to be the goalie for the big game.

During the game, tension is high. Ricardo Raccoon and Pete Porcupine are feeling upset about mistakes Amir is making.  Coach calls a time out and encourages the team to calm down and talk about what’s going on.  Just then, Amir says he wants to quit!  Ricardo tells him to think about the consequences.  Amir doesn’t know what consequences are, so Ricardo tells him about the time he stole the money from his aunt’s purse and was grounded.   Pete says if Amir quits, they’ll have to forfeit the game.  He gives an “I” message by saying:  “If you quit, I will feel really mad and sad.  Let’s try to work this out using the Solution Stoplight.”  Coach agrees and guides Amir and Sarina through the steps.  The solution that everyone agrees on is to allow Amir to be goalie during the second half.   The team runs out onto the field shouting, “Shooting Stars are the best!”   The coach agrees, smiles and says, “This really is a winning team.”

Footprints for Life is specifically designed to build students’ social competencies, which include planning and decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, peaceful conflict resolution skills, cultural competence skills, and resistance skills.

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