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A day for coaches!

On Saturday April 27, the DDCA Board hosted an eventful day for coaches and members to learn from gifted guests and each other in preparation for a new dance team season, as well as some time to give thanks and celebrate the successes of a season that has passed.

The first half of the day included a gathering of dedicated coaches at Canby High School for the Spring Coaches Conference. The conference was another successful step in bringing coaches together for educational classes, informative workshops, and interesting conversations. In past years, the annual conference had often been held in the Fall; however, participation has declined over the years as coaches have navigated their way through the pandemic and changes in the dance team scenes. The DDCA Board is taking steps to begin to bring back the robust nature of these educational offerings for our membership, and hope that the two conferences offered this season, one in the Fall and one in the Spring, will help inspire participation and desire for the membership to find the value and excitement in these events.

For many who attended, the conference was a great way to reengage ideas and approaches to coaching dance team. Classes included a variety of movement opportunities, score sheet review, a panel about dance beyond high school, a discussion about how to prepare teams for a national competition, a budgeting round table, drill down technique and teaching practice, and an informative presentation about building and inspiring programs through realistic planning and goal setting. Guest teachers included contemporary dancer and choreographer Jordan Isadore, Ellove technique by Chelsea Godon, and the goal setting presentation by Dr. Chelsea Pierotti. Many current dance team coaches, judges, and a few other guests also offered perspectives and guided some great classes and discussions.

What is undeniable and was repeated over and over again on Saturday is that we all do this wild coaching gig for the same primary reasons. We love dance and we want to provide a positive, successful, and unforgettable journey for our dancers. Every coach has something valuable to share, and something valuable to learn. The best way to do that is with the help and support of each other and those who understand our desire to grow and become better leaders for our athletes.

The day also included our spring membership meeting, which was business as usual, and always encompassing a process of difficult and thoughtful steps to hopefully carve out that endless and nuanced path to make our organization stronger and continuously successful. It is never an easy process to come to an agreement, but if we keep showing up, embracing the difficulty and value of compromises, and dive into advocating for and growing our dance programs, we will be sure to have dancers in our gyms and athletes to nurture. We may not all agree, be we can agree that we care about each others' success in the programs we lead.

The long day concluded with the first annual DDCA Awards Banquet. This year the event took place at Antonia Ballroom in Canby. The modest ballroom, was well-suited for this event, offering snacks and desserts, a small bar, a dozen or so round tables, a photo backdrop and an awards table. Hayley DuLong, master of ceremonies, eloquently spoke for the membership about each honoree, and gave the event a wonderfully cheerful and celebratory voice. With this successful first year, the annual DDCA Awards Banquet will hopefully become the not-to-miss event of the year for dance team coaches, judges, and friends. The banquet was a beautiful way to come together as coaches and dance team supporters to celebrate some well deserved successes and honors for the season.

After years of service pins were distributed, the following coaches were honored at the event....

Assistant Coaches of the Year

  • 1A-4A: Danielle Upton, Valley Catholic High School

  • 5A: Mackenzie Johnson, Rex Putnam High School

  • 6A: Brandy Guthery, Clackamas High School

Coach of the Year

  • 1A-4A: Pamela Dider-Delwisch, Scappoose High School

  • 5A: McKenzie Clemmons, Thurston High School

  • 6A: Trisha Herndon, Sherwood High School

DDCA Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Vernita Reyna

  • Lynne McEachern

DDCA Service Award

  • James Healey

This day was a great reminder that the community we nurture with our teams of 5, 10, 15, or 40 dancers, and their families, does not end there. As dance team coaches, judges, and friends, we are a community of opinionated, passionate, and talented people. We can be here to support each other, battle each other, learn from each other, and share who we are with our community in not only a competitive way, but also an inspirational and supportive way. Saturday's events reconfirmed that we create our climate and our joy in this organization, and that climate and joy can directly benefit the young artists, dancers, and athletes we coach and endlessly advocate for. What an honor to have the opportunity and the space to do so.

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