In the midst of the global pandemic, we have had a lot of bad news and obstacles thrown at us. However, even through this unprecedented situation, so many of our Athlete Reps have been working above and beyond to help strengthen their local communities and support their constituent athletes.
In this article, we will be featuring some of our LSCs and Athlete Reps who are truly stepping up to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hoping to recognize those who are finding opportunities to build their leadership in the face of adversity. Let North Carolina and Georgia Swimming inspire you to build up the athletes around you, and to be better community members, too.
North Carolina Swimming
One of the biggest challenges governance leader's are facing currently is maintaining athlete engagement while out of the water. But, for North Carolina, this wasn’t just an obstacle - it was a goal.
Last month, NCS was able to gather nearly 20 coach-appointed athletes to call in to their first monthly meeting. On that call, the NCS Athlete Reps challenged their Committee members to reach out to a team that didn’t have a representative yet, and ask them to join. Since then, with very few repeats, NCS is reporting 64 members on their Athletes’ Committee - and almost every team in the LSC is now represented.
Senior Rep Piper Burton was happy to say that their “long term goal, as a committee, is to have three active and responding athletes from every team. So we are already ahead of the game!”
The LSC’s Athlete Reps are currently developing new positions and organizational systems to ensure that every member has opportunities for involvement in hopes to maximize the Committee’s ability to make positive impacts throughout NCS.
Keeping up athlete engagement will be a challenge that every LSC will face in the coming weeks and months, but North Carolina has shown that with drive, initiative, and some creativity, that this time out of the water doesn’t have to be a lull in engagement - instead, it can be an opportunity for incredible success.
Our world’s healthcare professionals have shown heroism these last few weeks and continue to fight the COVID-19 virus with tenacity and perseverance. Yet, their work is being hindered by the nationwide shortage of medical equipment, especially Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as face masks and scrubs, designed to keep medical professionals safe while treating ill patients.
Georgia Swimming found an opportunity to help those on the front lines against the coronavirus. Emory Healthcare, one of the state’s largest hospitals, approved the use of swim goggles as a backup eye-protection device to be used if standard PPE was no longer available.
Knowing this, the Georgia Athlete Reps wasted no time in organizing a goggle collection drive, asking those who were able to collect swim goggles and donate them to Emory Healthcare’s professionals. Senior Rep Sarah-Grace Thompson estimates that over 200 pairs were donated to this hospital, and will continue to help to treat victims of the virus!
Opportunities for service and outreach are more important now than ever before. When safe and available, do your best to help your communities, thank and assist medical caregivers spending countless hours in hospitals, and promote attitudes of community and solidarity amongst your athlete community.
Thanks for reading! Please comment below, or feel free to email us, if you, or your LSC, has a story surrounding being resilient during the Coronavirus outbreak. We would love to share your story!
Author: Ryan Gibbons
Ryan Gibbons is originally from the Florida Swimming LSC and has been an athlete rep for 2 years. He currently serves on the USA Swimming Safe Sport National Committee, the AEC Leadership Sub-Committee, and as the Southern Zone Jr. Athlete Rep. He will swim in the fall for Emory University in Atlanta, GA.