Sunday, November 23, 2008
The last few weeks have been fairly "normal" here in San Diego at the Olympic Training Center. Almost everyone here is wrapping up their 3rd or 4th weeks of training and the days are flying by. The classes that I am hanging out with here at the training center have been steady and are keeping me on my toes. This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak at the 7th Annual South Bay Intergenerational Games . This was the 3rd Generational Games that I have spoken at and I was pleased to meet several people who remembered me from the previous IG Games editions.
The Intergenerational Games are designed to bring together older adults and young students for a series of games designed to promote health and physical fitness. My task was to inspire the kids with stories about the Olympic Games and my experiences as an athlete...as well as promote cooperation, interaction and teamwork through physical activities. My ultimate goal was to try to educate the kids on the importance of nutrition and health education at an early age and how that can translate into lifelong healthy habits. It was a beautiful day and I had the opportunity to hang out and answer 1 on 1 questions with many of the kids and even a few of the "older kids".
Over the next few weeks, I have 2 more classes scheduled at the Olympic Training Center, as well as my 2nd visit to the "shop with a jock". Shop with a Jock is was created by former San Diego Charger Junior Sea, and gives over 200 hundred kids to shop with local professional and Olympic athletes from the San Diego area. Last years event was an enormous success and I'm looking forward to a few more funny stories for this year.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
This past week was one of the busiest weeks of community service for me since I started working with In the Arena. The week started off with 3 classes at the OTC that were an absolute handful followed by an awesome visit to Sunset Hills Elementary School. Although it was over an hour drive one way, it was well worth it. The kids of Sunset Hills "adopted" me while I was in Beijing and sent massive amounts of good luck cards and emails and really made me feel proud to have so many kids cheering for me, even though I had never met them... The idea was brought about by another former USA Olympian, Mary Andrews, who just also happened to be a javelin thrower as well. With Mary's help and creative efforts, I was able to return to a "welcome back" day at Sunset Hills and had the opportunity to speak the the entire school as a group as well as visit individual classrooms and see the kids one on one. Seeing how well the kids were behaved as I visited their classrooms reaffirmed my faith in the public school teaching system. These kids were the most polite and well behaved kids that I have been around and it was truly a pleasure to spend the day with them.
Now that I am back in training for the 2009 season, my community service projects will be again resume on a weekly basis and in some situations, a daily basis. Im looking forward to a busy but prosperous fall. Till next time,