youth & education
Three questions for Michaela Reynolds and John Naber, Ready, Set, Gold!
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1. As it tackles essential societal and health problems for a never-ending tank of children, how do you see the future of Ready, Set, Gold!?
MR: I believe in the power of sport. Sport teaches us so many important life skills: teamwork, perseverance, grit, goal-setting and so much more. RSG! is the resource for our youth to do so. As we look to the Olympic Games returning to Los Angeles in 2028, let’s use the next 8 years as our opportunity to build upon this legacy.
JN: Ready, Set, Gold! provides Olympian and Paralympian role models for our communities’ health and wellbeing. As the children adopt these life lessons, the benefits will accrue to the entire community. I imagine the programme’s value will be appreciated and the programme will continue to grow in size and influence over time.
2. Is the RSG! programme unique to South California or has it been replicated in other parts of the country?
MR: RSG! is one of a kind. We would love to expand this program in more cities throughout the country.
JN: Some elements of Ready, Set, Gold! have been attempted elsewhere. Olympians and Paralympians volunteer their time and service across the country, but RSG! is the only organised, formally funded and managed programme of its kind. The programme’s relationship with the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) and LA Sports Council makes it unique.
3. With the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the programme had to be interrupted. How have you managed to stay connected with the participants and maintain a high level of motivation?
MR: Although our on-site programme had nearly concluded for the year, Ready, Set, Gold! leaped into action to provide additional virtual support to our partner schools, creating and sharing weekly videos featuring our Olympians/Paralympians and including both physical and mental health related exercises and lessons to support students during this unprecedented time. The reception by our partner schools has been very positive. They are grateful not only to be able to provide a distance-learning version of Physical Education but also to be able to provide their students with a resource for building or maintaining resiliency during a crisis. It is important for our youth to continue to not only challenge themselves physically but also mentally which is why we have included videos around the growth mindset. We have recently launched a RSG! Fall Series. This resource is meant to lift up our community and with all the great information packed into this 8-week programme we are making it free and accessible to everyone.
JN: The ingenuity and commitment shown by our Olympians and Paralympians has allowed the benefits to continue, in spite of local Covid-19 lockdown measures. Some RSG! athletes have demonstrated remarkable creativity in producing workout videos, inspirational pep-talks and other supportive electronic materials that have been shared with their schools and students. These videos are accessible on our website, and available for any interested parties. We remain hopeful that once our schools reopen, we can return to the powerful face-to-face relationships of the past.