I was fortunate, once again, to take five of my high school-aged gymnasts on a trip to New York City for the annual USAIGC High School Invitational. This is the second year that we have offered this meet to our high school gymnasts, and we had a great time!
We spent all day on Saturday in New York City, taking in the sights, and meeting Paul Spadaro, the President of USAIGC, for a fabulous lunch. Because we were traveling with older kids, we could do some more mature New York City sight-seeing, like visiting the 911 Memorial Museum. The girls, all of whom were not yet born on 9/11 except one, were touched and awestruck.
This year, we had five gymnasts and three adult chaperones, plus myself, so we decided to rent a house in Queens for the weekend. The girls were able to all stay in the same room together and bond. Because the high school meet is about celebrating age and years in the sport, and not level, not all of my girls work out in the same group in our gym. Therefore, they were able to get to know one another a little better. We gave them the freedom to cut loose (within reason) and really get comfortable with each other. They also stayed up late, watched movies, and talked, like teenagers like to do. They even bought matching socks for themselves (and me – thanks, girls!) so they could make the weekend even more special.
Much like last year, I gave my five high school girls the opportunity to (somewhat) dictate how their practices would look in the gym leading up to the meet, so they could have input on how they could best prepare themselves.
It turns out that my five girls have truly taken their roles as leaders and role models in the gym seriously. I am proud to say that they took the initiative to bring home an idea of the “Positivity Board” from the host gym. They came to me with the idea, and I thought it was a good one, so we decided to implement it. I bought a white board and markers, and it was the high schoolers’ job to explain the purpose of the board to their teammates. Reading over what their teammates write on the Positivity Board is now one of the highlights of the week for many of my gymnasts, all because of the initiative taken by my team leaders – my high schoolers. One of my greatest goals in coaching is teaching kids how to take initiative and lead. When I watch them begin to do it on their own is very rewarding.
This meet served as a great opportunity for my high school-aged gymnasts to know that they are special, important, and valued members of my competitive team. I am thrilled to offer this meet on our schedule each year, spend a long weekend in New York City with the girls, and reward them for many years well spent in our great sport.