One corona casualty was AIA’s women’s basketball leadership academy until the director, Jenna Bolin, had an idea: What if we tried it virtually? We could offer it to many more people because there wouldn’t be a need for travel, housing or food costs. And so, what normally lasts about a week was condensed into a virtual weekend retreat.
(The image is not a link. You can visit the leadership academy website by clicking here.)
All Division 1 (and some D2 and D3) women’s basketball coaches were invited to “send” players whose leadership they wanted to develop. Previous academies held at AIA’s HQ averaged about a dozen participants, but God was about to blow the doors off our expectations! So many players signed up that we had to offer a second weekend and had 10 times the participants!
The leadership academy speakers included WNBA coaches and players and leadership experts. Their value-added training was delivered from the context of their faith in Jesus. Sports analyst Shelly Till, a former D1 player and coach who now has two kids playing D1 basketball, had a great platform to talk about mental health and vulnerability. Every speaker emphasized leading through relationships by loving and serving one’s teammates.
Bekah Walter, an AIA intern I coach and a former college basketball player, led one of the cohorts for small group breakout sessions. She says, “I would have done anything to have this in college! I was a leader, but I had no direction or goals to lead. I didn’t know how to maximize my strengths. We were all leading against the way our coach was leading.”
Each participant at the academy was encouraged to find a definition of success that’s bigger than a scoreboard or a season. By the end, each was able to identify an area for growth, and all left with personal development plans. Most expressed a desire for continued involvement with AIA. This will open doors for the gospel.
We are keenly aware that Covid-19 is impacting you and adding to challenges your family is facing. Please tell us how we can pray for you! We love you!
Praise God, for He is still the same today as yesterday! Let’s live out Ephesians 6:18 with each other. Your partnership makes a difference.