Here is a response to the question concerning my successes at the chapter, regional and national levels.
During my years as president of the Nor Cal Chapter, what I was most proud of was my chapter being chosen by then National President Peter Pover to organize the first USA Dance regional competition in the country in 1992. I believe we were given that honor because of the chapter’s strong record of organizing several competitions each year since the 1980’s. This was followed three years later by my chapter, still during my chapter presidency, being awarded National Chapter of the Year by Peter’s successor, Archie Hazelwood during the 1995 National Championships in San Francisco which were hosted by the Nor Cal Chapter.
While I served on the Governing Council as Regional Vice President, I was proud of the vibrant meetings we held in my region each year chaired by me and attended by chapters throughout the Southwest Region.
During my years as the National Senior Vice President and finally as National President, probably what has given me greatest satisfaction has been the growing positive relationship USA Dance has developed with the USOC. I began attending the USOC Annual Assembly while I was still the Senior Vice President of USA Dance in 2007 and have continued to do so every year. This has earned dividends for USA Dance in a number of ways. Getting to know the administrative and legal staff as well as a number of the other representatives on the Multi Sport Organizations Council and the NGB Council via service on various committees has proven most useful to USA Dance.
This was particularly so last year when I asked for and obtained a strong letter from the USOC in support of the freedom for athletes and officials to participate in competitions outside the events of their international federation. The USOC team included me in their discussions and drafting of the letter to ensure its usefulness to USA Dance in our efforts to overturn the ban placed by the WDSF on some of our athletes and officials who had participated in events outside the WDSF family of competitions. I believe that this letter, which we took to the WDSF General Assembly in 2012 and which I read out loud to the gathered delegates of many nations and the Presidium, was one key factor in getting the WDSF to rescind the ban.
On another front, several of our chapters have come forward and answered my call to start hosting Olympic Day celebrations. The Orlando Chapter, for example, has held celebrations honoring Olympic Day last year and again this year, which is helping our relationship with the USOC even further, as the USOC now sees us as a partner that is putting Olympic athletes front and center in our celebration of Olympic Day, which is an event that takes place in many countries around the world.
Early this year the USOC staff asked me if USA Dance would be interested in suggesting the name of a choreographer who could work with them to develop an easy dance routine that could be taught to Olympic athletes as they go out to speak at Olympic Day celebrations and which they in turn could teach to other Olympic Day participants and members of the general public including children. The USOC staff even suggested developing a video for the USOC website and other social media sites. Of course I said yes, and while the USOC has not allocated a budget for this program as of yet, we are hopeful that for 2014 this project will become a reality.
The USOC now prominently displays a photo of USA Dance athletes in its literature on Multi Sport Organizations, and this description and photo appears on the USOC website and in a variety of USOC publications and promotions.
This growing relationship has also helped us in our efforts to organize the first Junior and Youth World Team Dance Camp, which we ran this past May at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, and which I have described in detail both in the July/August issue of the American Dancer Magazine as well as in an earlier entry on this blog.
DanceSport is growing ever closer to inclusion in the Pan American Games, and the positive relationship we have developed with the USOC can only help us in that effort. Therefore, the time and energy spent in furthering our activities with the USOC has been well worth while and something that has given me great satisfaction.