By Convention Education Committee | Friday, September 15, 2017Jessica Cooper
This week is flying by! By this point, I am somewhere between physically exhausted and mentally stimulated. There has been so much information flying around and conversations being had. My physical energy is a little low, but I also have so many ideas to implement that I'm equally as energized. (Okay, maybe leaning more on the exhausted rather than energized side but I'm a glass half-full kinda gal.)
On Wednesday night, someone challenged me by saying I wouldn't get up early for yoga Thursday morning. Not only did I get up for yoga, but I also swung by and picked up coffee for our LSC Senior Chair, Beth, as she prepared for her talk during the session Introducing Children into Competitive Swimming for Long-Term Success. She presented on Dynamo's juniors program. Although I'm no longer actively coaching, I enjoy hearing our coaches share their passion and success stories with peers, so I was happy to attend this session until my shift at the Happy2Help Desk. From there, I caught a bit of the #SwimBiz: Oh Snap! Tips, Tricks and Trends in Social Media session. Right now, Georgia Swimming has active Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. We have a Snapchat account, but we have yet to launch the account and give it the attention it deserves. I'm thinking it would be fun to start having clubs within our LSC do weekly takeovers on Snap. I for one would love to see a week-in-the-life of a typical coach and/or swimmer. (Swimmers, aren't you just a little curious what your coach really does outside of practice while you're slaving away at school?)
The rest of my day was all LSC business between the Mighty Mega LSC Reunion, which was for LSCs with 7,000+ athletes, and the LSC Board Orientation session. I love governance so the board session was right up my alley. Georgia has a strong board orientation program, but I was still able to walk away with a few new ideas for implementation. One idea being the creation of short biographies for our board members. Even I am curious to know what hidden skills and connections our board members are keeping under wraps!
Another eventful day at convention! Today I started with an athlete meeting. We had some presentations from a few member of USAS. I had to leave this meeting pretty early to make it to the "Understanding Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault" talk put on by Safe Sport. This was an AMAZING meeting. The speaker was very informative and open to any questions from the audience. She did a really great job of discussing very heavy topics without making it uncomfortable. Specifically, we discussed appropriate language, actions, and attitudes to use when talking to and about survivors. Several of the audience members were specifically concerned about how to use the information in the presentation in swimming related situations. They wanted to know the best way to help athletes without crossing Safe Sport boundaries. Susan, who is USA Swimming Safe Sport Staff, pointed the audience to the new Safe Sport education platform: LEARN. She explained that the new athlete protection training includes scenarios where these issues are addressed. This meeting made me especially excited about improvements to Safe Sport in the future. Another note, I’ve noticed a very positive and inclusive attitude from all of the participants in the Safe Sport meetings this convention. This is very refreshing, considering how intense many other meetings at Convention can get. It helps me remember that everyone at Convention is truly here to help make this swimming a safe, fun, and inclusive sport.
After the Safe Sport meeting, I went back to the athlete room to catch the end of that meeting. We listened to a very informative explanation of Roberts Rules by Sam Hansen. Although I understand Robert’s Rules and have seen Sam give this presentation at least 3 times, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
After the athlete meeting, I grabbed a box of cheese and crackers from the hotel lobby store and rushed over to the Western Zone meeting. The meeting started a little behind schedule (which is expected of the Western Zone). Almost halfway thought the agenda, we stated to experience some crippling technical difficulties. These consisted of having a very, very difficult time getting a video in a PowerPoint Presentation to play. After about twenty minutes, the Western Zone Athlete Rep group chat started to blow up. Finally, the video played and we started to make our way through the rest of the agenda. Luckily, the Western Zone surprisingly conscious of the timeline and we finished at 6pm exactly! Getting out of the Zone Meeting on time is uncharacteristic of the Western Zone but we were all thrilled.
After the Zone meeting I walked down to the athlete suit with the rest of the Western Zone Athletes and ate some delicious pizza! Finally, my last meeting was the Town Hall. This meeting was interesting and had good debate. Overall, I learned a lot from the meetings I attended today, which makes me excited to continue working on the projects I have planned and include some of this new information. Tomorrow will hopefully be just as inspiring!
Thursday was LONG! Two full buses of athletes traveled to SMU this very early morning for a great start to this very busy day. After a quick turnaround, we headed out to Lewisville High School Harmon for this years our service project. We put on a swim clinic, in conjunction with the USA Swimming Foundation, for swimmers in second grade, teaching them strokes and drills and playing games. We were even visited by the one, the only, Medley, the USA Swimming Foundation mascot which is always a great morale booster.
Today's meetings were more condensed starting with a leadership Q&A with some of USAS’s most prominent figures: Steve McFarland, Carol Zaleski, Dale Neuburger, and Barbara McNamee. It was then followed by a motivational speech by one of my personal favorite speakers Josh Davis.
The rest of our time was spent discussing the new legislation and drawing connections to how they will affect us (the athlete body) directly and indirectly. Following that, Sam Hanson delivered his FAMOUS Robert's Rules of parliamentary procedure presentation; a preparation for the upcoming Zone meetings and National HOD. I feel like parliamentary procedure won't be much of an issue this year everyone seemed to really understand the concept which is super helpful.
A lot of the first zone meetings flew by pretty fast, Western zone had a lot of discussion, but what I found to be interesting was how much discussion was at the Town Hall meeting. There's a lot buzz around the different opinions on the new governance study. I feel like this would be a great opportunity for the new athletes to see some conflicting ideas and hopefully rise up and familiarize themselves with the legislation forcing them to talk to multiple sources about their viewpoints. This will help them to formulate their own ideas and rebound them off of each other to make an educated vote later down the road.