Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water Safety Instructor Aide/Junior Lifeguard Training

When the kids on the swim team are 11 years old, they have the option to take two courses: Water Safety Instructor Aide (swim lesson teacher’s aide) and/or Junior Lifeguard. Most of the older swim team kids work as swim lesson teachers and lifeguards. Ryan has been SO excited to do both of these classes! Monday, June 20, he started both of them. So, we get up at 6:00 am every morning in order to be in the pool at 7 am for swim team. They both run for two weeks. He has swim team from 7-9, WSI aide from 9-10:30, and Junior Lifeguard from 10:30-12! Yes, he is in the pool every day for FIVE HOURS! Here’s the funny thing – twice his friends have invited him to go back in the afternoon to swim for fun. He obviously loves the water.

The WSI aide class has already been a great experience. His teacher, Jessa, was also his Level 3 or 4 swim lesson instructor, so she is thrilled to have him in her WSI Aide class! (He is the only one doing it right now.) On the first day, she gave him the “exit skills” papers for all of the swim lesson levels (about 11 of them). Parents who have had your kids in swimming lessons – you are familiar with the paper that you get at the end of the class letting you know what your child has passed off. She asked him to review them the first night for homework. The second night, she assigned him to write two lesson plans! He has written two lesson plans for homework every night. He has to come up with an opening activity, a review of skills, the main portion of the lesson, introduction to the next day, closing activity, etc. He has done such a great job with them! I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to create lesson plans at age 11. Some of my college students have struggled with creating lesson plans in their 30s and 40s!

One of Ryan’s best friends from swim team is in the Junior Lifeguard class with him. There are five kids in that class, which is taught by the head lifeguard, Tanner. They have reviewed basic diving and swimming (strokes) information, and have started to learn some rescue techniques and basic first aid. He loves it!

I’m always one to look ahead. Lately there have been many stories, both locally and nationally, about how teens are the age group having the most difficulty finding employment in the current economy. Hopefully this training, and next few years of experience, will help Ryan secure a great summer job, when the time comes. And in the meantime, he’s gaining some excellent skills…and loving every minute of it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ryan’s Second Scout Overnighter ~ June 23-25

As a cub scout, Ryan (and I) went to Camp Tracy for two consecutive days. We would go up early in the morning, and attend classes and hike until about 3:00, then come home. As a scout, Ryan went up Thursday morning for the day, came home Thursday evening, and then went back up Friday morning for a two-day overnighter. Ryan (and I) both did a lot better this time around. Since we hiked through the camp area of the older scouts last week, we knew exactly what to expect. It helped that this was our second time around with the overnighters, too.

Here are the boys meeting and packing the truck on Friday morning. I had Ryan’s permission to take pictures. :)

Ryan reported having a great time! While the cub scouts are able to shoot BB guns at Camp Tracy, the older scouts shoot .22s! Ryan even got one bulls-eye on his paper target, and proudly brought it home for display. It sounds like he loved everything about Camp Tracy again this year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Father's Day ~ June 19

We had a very cold, wet spring and early summer this year. Even on Father’s Day, it rained most of the day, and was quite cold. Instead of our regular BBQ outside, we cooked and ate inside.

By the time we had finished eating, the skies had cleared. Ryan and I gave Papa a book, but our “card” was attached to some confetti poppers. After we ate, we went outside and had a great time playing with the poppers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Utah Summer Games ~ June 18, 2011

Saturday we had breakfast, packed, and then checked out of our hotel at 11:00. We stopped and got free frozen yogurt (mid-morning snack) with a coupon that was in the “athlete bag” that Ryan received at check-in. Then Ryan’s warm-ups started at noon. This is how Ryan prepares for his events.

As I’ve mentioned before, in Ryan’s swimming experiences, I try to focus on Ryan beating his own times more than winning. We’ve also talked about the friendships he is making through swimming. Through these Summer Games, Ryan really learned how to be a good sport. His new friend, Payson, easily won the gold in most of the events that they swam. In fact, in several events, there were two heats, with Ryan being in the first heat (due to the fact that he had no times yet in the events), and Payson was in the second heat. Even though they were competing against each other, Ryan stood either at the side of the pool or at the bulkhead and cheered for Payson. I was so proud of him for his willingness to cheer for the person that he knew would beat him! In the events where they did swim in the same heat, they always enjoyed chatting with each other at the start blocks.

Here are Ryan’s events and results for Saturday, with asterisks indicating his own best time:

50 Butterfly – 50.34 – 6th place
200 Freestyle – 1:32.76* - 9th place
100 Breaststroke – 2:21.10* - 5th place
400 Freestyle – Unfortunately, we didn’t see Ryan’s exact time. It was in the 8 minute range, and he came in 4th place. But he has never done this event before, so it was his own best time!*

The 400 events consist of eight laps. There are counters that a coach or parent can hold at the bulkhead so the swimmer doesn’t have to keep count during the longer events – they can just focus on the swimming. I held Ryan’s counter, and the girls and coaches from the Moab team stood behind me. As Ryan approached, we’d cheer for him. He started giving us a thumbs-up as he made his turn. I’m thinking it may have slowed him down a bit, but he sure made the girls giggle. Priorities, I guess. :)

The Moab coaches stood with me during most of Ryan’s events, talking with me about Ryan’s form, speed, and overall performance. They were so complimentary! In fact, one of the coaches kept saying, “Oh! What a BEAUTIFUL butterfly!” Even though Ryan wasn’t the fastest, they kept complimenting his form. Interestingly, during his 400 IM, the one who kept making comments about his BEAUTIFUL form, gasped all of a sudden. She said, “He’s ELEVEN?!?!” Every other swimmer in that event was 12. She said she was JUST SURE that he would continue to get even better as he grew older and his body continued to mature. It was fun to hear their opinions, especially since this was our very first event without our own coach.

Here are a few pictures from the day. In the first picture (butterfly), notice the muscle definition on the back of my little 11-year-old!

Since Ryan didn’t medal in any events on Saturday, we hit the road as soon as his events ended in the late afternoon. We decided to stop at the Cedar City welcome sign to take a couple of pictures of our medalist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Utah Summer Games ~ June 17, 2011

On Friday, June 17, Ryan’s warm-ups and events started at 12:30. We got up and had breakfast, and then went for a drive up Cedar Canyon. We weren’t sure if Cedar Breaks was open yet (we had heard that there was still too much snow, but that they were working to clear it in order to open over the weekend). We decided to go as far as we could. Much to our surprise, it was open! By the time we got there, we didn’t have a lot of time, but we spent a few minutes admiring the still-high snow and the beautiful views of Cedar Breaks.
After lunch and Hermie’s (a favorite local hamburger/shake place), we went to Ryan’s events. As we were getting Ryan ready to begin his events, we made friends with another family sitting nearby. Their swimmer, Payson, was the swimmer who took the gold in most of Ryan’s events. They live in West Point, and Payson swims for the Clearfield team. Even though they were competitors, Ryan and Payson quickly became good friends.Here are Ryan’s events and results, again with an asterisk indicating Ryan’s own best time:

200 Backstroke – 3:53.03* - 4th place
200 Breaststroke – 4:58.85* – 9th place
100 Backstroke – 1:49.99* – 4th place
50 Freestyle – 43.94 – 10th place
400 Individual Medley – 8:46.43* - 3RD PLACE! BRONZE MEDAL WINNER!!!

The 400 IM was definitely the highlight of the day. Ryan was such a trooper swimming it! We had also made friends with the swim team from Moab. As Ryan was swimming his 400 IM, the girls Ryan’s age stood at the bulkhead and cheered for Ryan as he approached the bulkhead and made his turns. It really did push him even more.
The Moab team coach, Penny, had an AMAZING camera! Here are some pictures that she took of Ryan, his cheerleaders, and me acting as his “lap counter”…

Of course, continuing the highlight of the day was the medals ceremony. As soon as the events ended, we went out to the lawn area in front of the building. Ryan’s friend, Payson, made some funny poses on the podium. Unfortunately, Ryan imitated him when it was HIS turn on the podium. Oh well! It was still a THRILL for this mom (and Rara and Papa) to see our little athlete on the podium!