Wow. I’ve been a busy lady and some great things are happening around here.
First of all, the classes through the Seattle Parks and Rec Department are filling up fast. Spring will expand our time in the facility and we’re scheduling summer camp for kids.
Bellevue Roller Derby starts March 1st at the Skate King and that is SO awesome. The idea for that rec league is we’re starting with weekly practice that is OPEN to anyone. The practice will cover basics, drills and the emphasis will be improving and learning. If groups split off from there (i.e. competitive, womens, mens) that is fine and great, we will separate the groups as well as schedule additional private practice time for that group. The best thing about the Eastside league is that scheduling will never be a problem. Bellevue Skate King is 100% behind this and wants to see it thrive.
As awesome and wonderful as all of that is, here is something even more exciting for me. For the past couple of years, I’ve been researching. I’ve been reading studies and research papers about sports psychology, about women and self esteem and have been wanting to get at what “drives” skaters. I’ve done some surveys and have a baseline group who are all willing to answer more surveys over the next year. The next survey will be out soon to the participants.
OK, so As this research has been going on, I’ve also been trying to help my morbidly obese son find resources, a sport, any way at all that I can help him find ways to move his body.
We tried a program through the YMCA twice and he was bullied both times. It was a great idea for a program, but the implementation didn’t work for us.
I have a pool because he loves to swim (he is too embarrassed to swim in public), but that is limited to Summer. I’ve bought basketball hoops, coached little league so he would be more comfortable only to have him stay at home. I’ve gotten scooters, bikes, Private OT, Private martial arts teachers, social skills classes, we’ve been to nutritionists, had a token economy to reward exercise behavior, play wii fit, you name it, but this kid is stuck and ever-growing.
One day I had a lightning bolt of an idea and my two interests collided head on.
It occured to me that we need a program that will get to kids, (ALL kids) before they decide there is no place for them in sports. I immediately took it to the program director at Magnuson Park who is a wonderful person and very dedicated to kids. He thought it looked like a great idea and I went to work.
I already had research in my hands about women in derby, women in sports, sports and teams in relationship to self esteem, obesity and nutrition and obesity and self-esteem. I began to gather more about the psychology of teams in relationship to self empowerment. Kids that are not inclined to try out for sports teams NEVER get the experience of a group win, and THAT is what is awesome about derby! 40% of the 100+ skaters who responded to my first survey have never participated in sports. No Wonder derby is mostly women! It is powerful!
What we don’t have anywhere as far as I can see is a TEAM approach to combat obesity and empowering non-athletic kids to experience the benefits of group efficacy. THIS is what I believe that we need. My best advisory board member is a 224 pound 12 year old kid that can tell me exactly what he would hate and like about a group. He is going to be my peer-assistant and HE is going to help empower kids and set his own goals along the way.
I’m now on a full on mission to bring the HeadHigh program to kids. The curriculum will cover topics about nutrition, self-esteem, choices etc. but the main point is for kids to have FUN and be on a TEAM. Each session will also spend a set amount of time teaching ONE sports skill such as throwing. The main exercise game will be crazy and wild FUN team games like monkey in the middle, sneaker derby, versions of tag and non traditional sport activities.
This is a perfect fit for doing it in tandem with the rec leagues, the mission is the same, and it is about exercise, awareness, hope, peer support, opportunity and additional resources for self-empowerment.
Thanks for reading this!
Head High! http://headhighprogram.org