I finally made it to Nebraska after a 4 hour road trip up from Denver with my friends from the Olympic Training Center. We arrived into Broken Bow, NE at 3 AM. The following day we got a tour of the town and saw our welcoming to the town sign at the local fast good joint. That evening Jessica Long and I spoke to about 30 people from the town and raised $1,500.00 to go towards the new gym for the high school. On Monday the whole high school and middle school all squeezed into the Broken Bow auditorium to hear Jessica and I share our insights and thoughts about just how fragile life is and how when things get hard you have to choose between what’s right and what’s easy. We also got to spend time, during lunch, meeting many of folks in attendance signing autographs and taking photos. We also participated in an interview with a local radio station sharing our message. All-in-all we hope that we touched and changed a few lives in such a small town, however, in a huge way.
This past weekend I got to attend a great event that was showcasing the summer league swimmers in the Michigan area. I had a great time helping with the opening ceremonies with my teammate Cheryl Angelelli. We got to grab a quick lunch then off to mingle with the kids. I really enjoy seeing how this sport starts from the ground up and witnessing those grass roots are priceless.
This past Friday I had the great honor and opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the Central District Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. It was a wonderful dinner and evening that celebrated people changing the physical health in children’s lives everyday. It was a honor to be able to share my story among a group of 350 people. I hope they were able to walk away with my message of, “Chasing the Dream Not the Competition,” and how important the Paralympic movement is for people with physical disabilities.
Today I, along with several other athletes and coach Dave, got the great opportunity to speak at Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock, Colorado. It was a whole lot of fun to get into the community and talk to a great group of kids! It was awesome and the kids had a wide variety of interesting questions. It’s opportunities like today that I get to reflect on why I am out here swimming, training and doing the things that I am doing.
What a great week. Just received this photo from a friend and wanted to share it with you all. On Monday, I got the opportunity to address the Eagle Ridge Swim Club, then I joined them in the pool for their swim practice. Spending time with this group brought back some great memories of when I started swimming competitively. What a great bunch of swimmers.
On June 21st, I was invited to speak at the Olympic Day Activity at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Wake Forest, NC. It was a special day for me as I was honored to share my story and experience as an Olympian. The Boys & Girls Clubs offers young people a range of fun and educational activities while providing a positive and safe environment where young people can connect with trained and caring staff and reach their goals.
To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs, visit wakebgc.org.