Those who have been members of USA Dance for more than five years may remember that USA Dance used to have a Vice President of Youth College Network (YCN) who headed the YCN Division. That division was responsible for managing the growth and development of college dance clubs and for fostering collegiate competitions and bringing them within USA Dance. The founder of the program, Bill Bennet, was the first Vice President of YCN, and he was a dynamic national volunteer of great energy and vision who established more than 100 college dance clubs around the country and fostered dance competitions for college students, which included trips to Great Britain to compete against English students and opportunities for English dancers to come to the U.S. to compete against their American counterparts. After Bill’s death, Kay Teague became the next Vice President of YCN and she continued active involvement with college dance clubs and college competitions around the country, which continued to grow.
However, after Kay left the position, USA Dance’s direct involvement with college clubs and competitions declined. Additionally, even though the division was named the Youth College Network, the emphasis was always on colleges, not on youth in K-12 schools.
The Governing Council of USA Dance determined that the K-12 youth program should have its own champion and so, in 2009 the GC approved the elimination of the YCN Division and the position of Vice President of YCN, and in its place created two director positions – The Director of K-12 Programs and the Director of College Network. This split has allowed for concentration to be placed on the development of a K-12 ballroom dance program headed by its own director. As a result, USA Dance now has a resource packet available for all schools that want to start after school dance clubs, and a dedicated national volunteer who is available to consult with USA Dance chapters around the country that want to help their local school districts start dance programs and hold fund raisers for the students in those programs.
The Director of College Network position on the Governing Council is vacant at this time, although we hope to have it filled in the not too distant future with a national volunteer whose job it will be to communicate with existing college dance clubs around the country, help establish new ones and encourage all the clubs to become affiliated with USA Dance, so that the USA Dance collegiate program may begin to grow and flourish once again.
In the meantime, the USA Dance National Collegiate DanceSport Championships, a long running competition which USA Dance holds each year in collaboration with Sam Sodano at the Ohio Star Ball has been placed under the managerial oversight of the Vice President of DanceSport and the DanceSport Division.