All Star athlete and Athlete Advisory Council member, Romy L. recently participated in the USASF Leadership Give Back Project and chose to educate her peers about the importance of sensitivity when interacting with the Exceptional Athlete population. Romy gives advice for All Star athletes about why it is important to be involved and how participating in these roles supports the USASF mission to truly be an inclusive sport.
Q: [USASF] Romy, you recently participated in the USASF Leadership Give Back Project and chose to utilize the leadership skills you learned through attending the USASF BOLT Workshop to teach your peers about the importance of sensitivity with exceptional athletes. Can you share with our readers what that experience was like and what you learned from that experience?
A: [Romy] The entire experience of creating and carrying out my Leadership Give Back Project was very enjoyable. I did lots of research before carrying it out. I researched the types of challenges exceptional athletes may face. While researching, I learned that every Exceptional Athlete’s disability is unique and people can be at different ends of the spectrum. I really wanted my project to focus on the idea of differences and similarities. I have seen in movies and in real life where someone judges someone with autism for “not looking autistic.” Overall I wanted my project to teach the cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover.” For example, many people are surprised when they learn some of the most intelligent people have disabilities. I aimed to teach my peers everyone is different in their own amazing way. My peers and I learned that we should look at our differences as strengths, not weaknesses.
Q: [USASF] After completing the sensitivity training, what was the feedback from your peers and do you feel they will take what they learned from you and make the All Star experience more inclusive for all?
A: [Romy] My teammates loved this project and were very enthusiastic throughout the entire experience. After completing the sensitivity project many of my teammates wanted to do the project I created but in their own schools. I was so happy to hear that they loved the activity and wanted to continue the project throughout our community. I believe the more people become educated on the topic of sensitivity with Exceptional Athletes the more inclusive our All Star experience will be. I am happy to be a part of the journey to continue making our sport more inclusive.
Q: [USASF] You also serve on the USASF Athlete Advisory Council, and our readers would love to learn about your role. Can you share some advice for All Star athletes on why it is important to be involved and how participating in these roles supports the USASF mission to truly be an inclusive sport?
A: [Romy] I am very fortunate to be a member of this group. The Athlete Advisory Council talks about topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, sensitivity and so much more. I am so lucky to have a place where I can voice my concerns as an athlete on these important topics. More people should get involved and participate in BOLT workshops and try to become a member of the council because without the voices of the athletes we will not achieve our mission to make this an inclusive sport.
Romy L. is an All Star cheer athlete from Cheermania in Stony Point, New York who also serves on the USASF Athlete Advisory Council. After attending the BOLT Leadership Workshop two years in a row, this 16-year-old high school junior has participated in, and contributed to, many USASF initiatives. Her athlete perspective is invaluable to the organization and she hopes to continue employing her leadership skills while studying nursing in college.
Are you interested in contributing to the Parent Connect Newsletter? Contact Sarah Miller Bate at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on sharing YOUR story as an All Star Parent.