2019 Region 5 All Star Trip Coverage Page
I have just returned to reality and I am looking back to reflect on my incredible experiences on the Region 5 All-Star & Ambassador trip and what impact the trip has had on me.
At the last moment (literally midnight before we left) my athlete was not able to attend the trip. I was a bit anxious about going on the trip solo, and thought it would be awkward, but decided to go and do whatever I could to help.
It was interesting to see the transformation of the girls and coaches on the trip. I knew all of the coaches in a professional capacity, as we have worked together for years on the competitive floor and training camps. However, traveling together for a week changes things. Hanging out with the coaches, laughing, sharing ideas, floating in the ocean, coaching and more really connected this crazy group. The girls quickly bonded and there was non-stop chatter, a lot of singing on the bus and of course plenty of selfies!
There were so many highlights on the trip. My all-time favorite part was working with the Puerto Rican athletes and coaches. We spent two days working at two different gyms. Our gymnasts divided into four groups and rotated with the Puerto Rican athletes. I loved seeing our girls reach out and help the athletes. The girls were giving corrections, encouraging them and learning a few spotting techniques. In the first gym (check out the vlog video), they also performed some skills for them. On the last switch the Puerto Rican children wanted to perform for us. Our girls and coaches cheered them on and there were lots of high fives afterwards. It was during these times that there was no language barrier. We were all on the same playing field of gymnastics.
At the second gym (check out the vlog of day 2) the girls were at a higher level. They really wanted to learn. They had not done a lot of drills before, so that was new for them. The equipment was a bit challenging and we learned to be creative. Teaching and sharing knowledge is always rewarding. I felt a huge sense of pride being a part of Region 5. We are so fortunate to have access to great equipment and resources for our athletes. I think that we sometime take for granted the incredible gifts that we all have. We could see the talent in these Puerto Rican gymnasts. They have come far with much less. It was a great lesson for all of us.
The next part of the trip was filled with adventures. We visited a very cool Fort (Castillo San Felipe) and Old San Juan. It was so hard to imagine how it felt being in battle behind those walls. Old San Juan is a beautiful City. The people were so welcoming. I loved the cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and colorful buildings.
Paddle boarding, kayaking, catamaran trip and snorkeling was a blast! We went to Cave Ventana and Rachel faced her bat fears (Caves and Views Day 5 Vlog) and then we all enjoyed some beach time. Another one of my favorite moments was when our bus driver David brought a speaker out onto the beach and everyone started dancing. The girls started their Zumba dance and some of the local kids joined in. We made quite an impression to say the least!
The last day was zip lining which was my favorite adventure. Many of the coaches did the MONSTER which covered the equivalent of 28 football fields, and we traveled close to 100 mph! We were hysterical with laughter not because it was funny but because we were scared to death! After we survived the Monster the coaches and gymnasts went on 8 more ziplines. We had so much fun. (Zip lining vlog coming soon)
One could say that meal-times were an adventure as well. We quickly learned that American time is much different that Puerto Rican time. Well, I shouldn’t say “quickly” as some of our meals took about 3 hours! That was torture! Of course, Marco was great entertainment. He did a great job quizzing the girls on what they learned on the trip. I was very impressed that “most” of the girls and coaches tried new foods. The jury is still out on Mofongo!Mofongo doesn’t even come close to the taste and health benefits of Built Bar! Check it out for yourself and get 10% off your order.
Our delegation leader Kittia was amazing. She worked so hard planning this trip and it was wonderful. Memories of a lifetime for all!