Letter to my Level 7, 8 and 9 parents:
For those of you who didn’t know, our Level 8 team: Lexi A, Briana S, Chelsea G, Kendra N. and Maddy M. won. At the St. Jude benefit meet they won the first place team award which rewarded them with an enormous trophy AND a $250 cash prize. Immediately following the awards the kids were asking me what I would do with the money “I” won and I assured them that it was their money and it would go to them.
So last night at practice, I posed the question “What are you going to do with the money YOU won?”
I made the rules, they needed to decide as a team by casting a vote. There would be no tie (there are 5 of them) and they could share their vote with the team, or keep it secret and whisper it to me, but the vote would decide. We were not going to have different girls do different things with the award money. I told them they would not get cash to spend on junk, I gave them 2 acceptable choices:
- Put the money into the booster club and into their personal account to be used for their gymnastics expenses. I explained that their moms and dads put a lot of money into paying for them to do this great sport and this could be an opportunity for them to put money, that they earned, into their own account. I explained that it’s not selfish to use the money they earned for themselves and that I would be proud of
them if they made that choice. A choice to help be responsible for themselves doing what they love.
- We could donate the money back to St. Jude. I told them that I didn’t need to explain St. Jude to them as they had been at the meet, seen the videos and heard the speeches about how St. Jude is saving lives and helping children. I told them that I would be proud of them if they gave the money to help children who can’t do what they can do.
I told them that there was no wrong choice.
At the end of the practice, they came to me as a group. I asked if this was the vote and they all nodded. “What did we decide?” I asked. All unintentionally in unison answered with one voice; “St. Jude.”
Parents I am sorry that they are not putting the money into the account to help with expenses, I know the expenses these kids rack up during a season can at times be overwhelming. But I ask that you look at what your child has become; selfless. They know that they have some responsibility to carry their own weight but they prioritized. They put nameless children with serious health concerns ahead of themselves. I have never been more proud of my team, of your daughters and of the coaches and the program that helps them to see their place in the world as fortunate. Helps them to know that they are loved so much by their families and their team families that they have a little extra love to give away.
This is not limited to the Level 8 team. I know all the team children and I can tell you that everyone of them would have agreed to the same outcome. When your kids get home today, give them and extra hug, love them a little longer and be thankful that they are who they are.
Thank you for letting us train your kids and be a part of your family, the priviledge is all ours.