As I am writing this column, I have just returned from the annual Olympic Assembly in Colorado Springs. This was a particularly significant Assembly, given that it occurred just after the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. There was much discussion and a number of inspiring videos on American athletes’ performances in the Games. But in addition to that, there was a very productive meeting of the USOC Multi Sport Organizations Council (MSOC) of which USA Dance is a member.
At the meeting I distributed copies of the last two issues of American Dancer Magazine, which contained excellent articles on the Orlando Chapter’s celebration of Olympic Day by Chapter President John Davis (July/August issue), and the “Dancing Feet Youth Ballroom Program” by Director of K-12 Programs Barbara Wally (September/October issue).
The USA Dance Olympic Day Program has been listed in a USOC publication on Olympic Day celebrations around the country, which USOC staff distributed to participants at the Assembly. This was USA Dance’s first foray into celebrating Olympic Day, and I extend my congratulations to John Davis and his excellent team in Chapter #6002 for organizing this wonderful celebration!
The article on the Dancing Feet program was of particular interest to the American Alliance for Health, PE, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), as it fit right into school programs this organization is spearheading in an effort to fight childhood obesity. A closer relationship with AAHPERD will help to get the word out about the USA Dance programs in K-12 schools.
I also provided a copy of the September/October issue of our magazine to the representative of Special Olympics, Inc. who is a member of the MSOC and was present at the meeting. He was already aware of the fine work that is being done by the Fort Wayne, Indiana Chapter of USA Dance to provide ballroom dance and competition opportunities to people with developmental disabilities, and was interested in reading the excellent article by Breanna Olaveson on this program.
There were several MSOC organizations that expressed interest in partnering with USA Dance. These included the National Congress of State Games, which would like to explore the possibility of adding DanceSport to the State Games offerings around the country, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is interested in discussing with USA Dance our efforts to organize collegiate dance events, including the USA Dance National Collegiate DanceSport Championships.
Additionally, the Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA organization, which has received inquiries from wheelchair bound individuals looking for dance opportunities, wants to start referring such inquiries to USA Dance and establish a closer relationship with our organization in an effort to build support for Wheelchair Dancing in the U.S.
The USOC Annual Assembly is an excellent place for USA Dance to make contacts with other organizations that provide recreational and fitness opportunities to people of all ages. Several of these organizations are open to expanding their offerings to include ballroom dancing, and therefore serve as excellent potential partners for USA Dance in its efforts to expand ballroom dancing opportunities for all Americans.
I continue to chair a subcommittee of the MSOC tasked with developing closer relationships with the National Governing Bodies (NGB) Council of the USOC. Contacts were made this year with the National Governing Bodies for Gymnastics and Synchronized Swimming, two artistic sports that are in the Olympic Games.
Our goal for the 2013 Olympic Assembly is to set up an official meeting with a number of interested NGB’s in order to forge closer relationships with them and work on projects of mutual interest. I will provide a future report on how that effort is progressing.