Brain Break

Ever feel like you just need to let your brain be dumb for a little?

This weekend I did a lot of learning sitting in gymnastics lectures from 8:30-5pm. Then I got home and yesterday I had two chapters and another hour of lecture to get through, plus studying, for my online history class in order to take my test this morning. So I’ve done a lot of hardcore sitting and studying in the past few days and now my brain just feels in need of a break.

That happens every now and then where it’s just too much information all at once. Brain breaks truly may be the essential factor to learning.

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New Team, New Training

Today was the first day of summer team practice at the gym, which also means that all of the new kids invited to team started coming today.

The first day with a new team is always interesting. Everyone’s trying to learn names and find their place, plus newbies have a lot of changes to try and get used to. The girls who have been on team for a year or so now are just excited about getting to be leaders though they don’t quite know how to be just yet. On top of it all, coaches are trying to gauge ability as we start to think about who will be what level come the fall.

Needless to say, today was a bit slower than a normal team practice and we tried to not get too intense on day one, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the girls grow over the summer. Gymnastics is truly a year-round sport. If you try to take off for the summer, girls often come back pretty behind due to lack of training and potentially growing over the break which changes timing for skills. Since there isn’t school, summer is also the time where a lot of girls get to train more often and really get a lot of new skills that help them advance more than any other time in the year.

I don’t know many activities that are quite as big of a time commitment as gymnastics can be. It’s always crazy to me how many hours such young girls end up training if they’re really committed to reaching their full potential. The maturity of some of our kids always makes me wonder about the way school is divided by age because it doesn’t seem to make sense developmentally to me. Some of our most advanced girls who come close to 12 hours a week just turned seven this past spring, meanwhile, some of our nine-year-olds are the most likely to slack off during practice and can barely handle 6-9 hours a week.

I wonder when grade will stop being determined by age.

Extending Generations

Yesterday I got to see an amazing piece of art: Hamilton the musical!!!!!!!!!!

I’m still a bit in shock that it happened at all; it was only figured out that we could go about two days before the show and it was such a good decision on our part!

Hamilton is one of the few shows that I knew basically everything about it before actually seeing it and weirdly enough I’m glad that I knew so much about it. I would’ve expected to feel no big difference seeing it live versus knowing the songs and seeing videos online- with most musicals I typically only know a couple of songs and maybe have watched a video or two at most before I see it out of fear of this.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Seeing it live was breathtaking and reminded me yet again how live theatre is one of the most impactful experiences you can have in terms of art in my opinion. I’m glad I knew so much about it because I could appreciate the show that much more. Hamilton has so much going on between all the rapping, the character changes, keeping up with the historic plot, and the incredible choreography (as a choreographer myself I was completely mesmerized by the ensemble dance), so it was nice to have some background knowledge so I could take in all the little things going on as well. Things like costume changes, visual metaphors, the way the choreography emphasized the words, etc were things I would’ve completely missed without background knowledge.

It pays off to do your research I guess.

I can’t get over either something my mom said in the car ride home. She said that this would be a musical we’d end up taking our kids to one day. It was a crazy thought first of all just to imagine us (my sister, best friend, and I) with kids, but also crazy to think about time like that. The way art can survive generations and still be just as powerful. My mom compared it to Les Miz for her in terms of how she saw it as a kid when it came out and it’s still around and doing great today.

It’s pretty cool to think we got to watch a show about history that’s also making history.

 

 

Kind of ironically on the note of history, writing this blog was the first time I ever almost repeated a title of a blog post of mine. I was going to title this post, “Making History with History,” but it turns out I used this title for a post I made about this time last year also about Hamilton from right after the Tony awards. History really can repeat itself…

Inspiring Perspiration

Yesterday was a crazy day ending with a gym sleepover I worked for 50 some kids ages 5-15, so sadly I couldn’t blog until tonight.

It was the last full day of two big events I was working: the Olympic Gymnastics Camp (OGC) and the DT/sustainability course I was co-teaching at Paideia high school.
Last days can often only be described as being “happy-sad.” I was so proud of how far all of the kids came, but it was also sad to think our time together is over now. The OGC kids I may see again next year at camp, or at gymnastics meets throughout the year, but for the Paideia kids, who knows if I’ll ever see them again.
After 18 days working at Paideia, we successfully ended the course with each team having a prototype of a composting toilet and a deeper understanding of design thinking!!! I had to miss a few days during the last week due to working OGC, but I’m so glad I made it to their final pitches because they turned out really well for first-time design thinkers.
While we obviously had a schedule planned out before the course started, I was still a little nervous about if we would really be able to get all the way through a design challenge with newbies in only 18 days of about an hour and a half meeting each day. I was even more worried when we didn’t have full attendance until day 4… But we powered through!
Internally, I think we did a great job of really inspiring the kids early on and making sure to get everyone connected with each other to feel more comfortable before tackling some uncomfortable topics and situations- like talking about toilet habits.
Honestly, that’s probably one of the greatest takeaways I’ve had from this course: to have perspiration you need inspiration, and with the right inspiration, anything is possible.
I am planning to do a follow-up blog post after my Wish for WASH team who taught the class gets together to have our internal reflection meeting about the course. There are things I would change if we were to do it again, things I would like to further explore, and things that I was surprised about, etc, but I’ve not had a good chance to sort through all of my opinions just yet.
For now I just want to think about how crazy it is to believe we are finished, and how proud I am of the high school learners and of our Wish For WASH team for accomplishing our big goals: the learners built their own composting toilet prototypes that a panel of experts were interested in and they demonstrated a deeper understanding of design thinking and sustainability topics through their final pitches and reflection surveys.
#ProgressBell !!!!

Familiar Faces

I use to go to some sort of sleep away summer camp every year since I was about seven. There were some that I went to them every summer for a given amount of time, and other that I just tried randomly, like this one YMCA camp in Ohio.

I always loved summer camp because of all of the activities and weird traditions and games and meeting new people that you somehow become so close to in as little as a week at times. I’m still in touch to this day with some of my friends from mime camp and nerd camp and it’s been years since I attended either of those camps.

It’s been weird not going to sleep away camp anymore the past few years; however, this week is the second year now that I’ve helped work at a speciality camp. Today was the first day of Olympic Gymnastics Camp run by former Olympian ​Svetlana Boguinskaia who my mom has been friends with for a few years now which is how we learned of the camp. My sister used to be a camper when she still competed, and then last year was the first year we both started working there. 

It’s funny to now have a camp I’m at again but now as a coach. There are so many kids I at least vaguely remember but the passage of time seems so much more significant as a coach rather than a camper; especially since some kids jumped a ton of gym levels since I saw them last. It’s nice to have a new place with familiar faces from over the years though.

No Plans

For the first time in a long while, I woke up this morning to no alarm clock.

Then I went downstairs and had breakfast and realized there were absolutely no specific events of the day. I proceeded to start to read my history textbook and then fell asleep while trying to get through it…

The amazing part was that it didn’t matter. I could fall asleep on the couch and just stay there!

I’m currently at the lake with several other family friends as well, and so they all went on the boat while I was asleep. I awoke to just me and the dog and continued to just relax, listen to some gymnastics music (it’s time to start editing music for next season), read a bit more from my textbook, and grab a snack. Of course, eventually, everyone came back and things got hectic again, but it was really great to just enjoy a day with no plans. Even though it’s summer, that has yet to really happen until today.

Saying Goodbye to Disney

I can’t believe this day is here, the first members of the Innovation Diploma who entered as freshman have officially graduated today!

It’s crazy to believe that it’s been four years since this program began with a group of 12 unsuspecting young learners and two facilitators out on a daunting journey to figure out what it would mean to graduate with an additional “Innovation Diploma.”

A lot has changed since then. We went from barely understanding what innovation is to teaching top companies about design thinking. The team currently has Design Briefs in the works with Chick-Fil-A and Delta amongst others!

I love seeing how the program grows every year, even despite me having graduated at this point. I care because each year the program grows it also reflects on all of us who have graduated; it shows how the work we left behind has paved the path for those behind us. Furthermore, it shows how the way we run school is changing a little more each year for the better.

It was a pleasure to work alongside this group of now-graduated seniors while I could and it’s amazing the work they accomplished during their time in the Innovation Diploma. I can’t wait to see what they do next, though it is crazy and a little sad to think that there is no longer anyone left from the original group, theDisney Cohort. It all started back from that first time we hacked the system together by collaborating on what innovator we wanted to be named after, and then it was a crazy ride from there.

Now there will be no one left in the program who lived out that first year, messy as it was at times, it taught us all the true meaning of prototyping early and failing up to continue to make improvements for the future generations. I hope the years to come will remember and appreciate just how far this amazing program has grown in such a short amount of time.

Congrats class of 2018, and goodbye Disney Cohort; continue to dream and design a better tomorrow!

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” – Walt Disney

 

ID the Roof
The Disney Cohort year 1 of the Innovation Diploma after one of our first big accomplishments: making it to the roof! 

 

 

Brainstorm to Rainstorm

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From brainstorms to rainstorms, it’s been a day.

I feel like I’ve been going non-stop from 6:30am until now which I haven’t done in a very long time. My day started with a 3.5-hour brainstorming vision meeting this morning, then teaching at Paideia, then coaching at the gym, then ended with getting dragged along to a baseball game that got stormed out without starting.

I’m not very wet and very tired.

I don’t know how I use to maintain this kind of stamina in high school. It’s crazy to think this use to be a norm for me of getting up at 6:30 and going to bed at midnight with so much in between. Now I wake up between 8:20-10 typically and I always feel so much more well rested to the point where now I especially just can’t handle early mornings.

It’s crazy what we expect high school students to cram all into one day. That’s not even getting started with diving into the topic of how much content we try to cram into every hour, day, semester, year, etc. Who said in just 4 years so much has to be learned and decided on?

Show Time

The old gang got back together today! We had a mini theater reunion with us theater alum coming back to the MVAllStars black box to see Aladdin the Musical tonight. It was great getting to see everyone tonight and even better to also get to see a great show! I miss being up on stage and working with those guys.

I loved how after the show we still went backstage and talked to everyone and helped clean up stuff; it felt like old times.

I was so proud of all of my little acrobats on stage tonight. It’s always fun to see your work being performed especially when you can tell how happy it makes the performers.

I’m hoping to have that feeling again when our gymnastics showcase performs Sunday night. Right now the groups have been looking kind of messy which is getting me nervous again about if I was too ambitious with this year’s routine.

But who knows, maybe I’m just getting anxious due to everything happening at this time of year. It’s been a high-stress time especially with now receiving final grades.

One Day More

Well sometimes you study your butt off and still feel like you didn’t do as well as you wanted/needed to… Today  I had my first two finals and they were okay but I wasn’t amazingly confident walking out. Both tests had some weirdly worded questions that I’m not so sure about, but now it’s done and over and I have one day more of my first year before I move back home for summer and with that, I have one last final. Hopefully, I can do well enough to pull out an A in this class… (Still not used to having to super care about finals but that’s a totally different rant about grades and GPAs and test taking.)

This school year has flown by. Especially this past semester since I’ve been traveling so much. Hard to believe in the past four months I was in San Fransisco, Italy, NYC, and DC on top of dealing with classes and shows and practices amongst other things.

It’s been a crazy year, and even though I’m getting out of school about three weeks earlier than I have in a very long time if ever, I’m very ready for summer and all of its crazy happenings.

Just one day more…