Goodbye Letter from John Geddert to Region 5
To: Region 5
From: John Geddert
Re: Regional Junior Olympic Chair Position
For the past 25 years I have served this region in the capacity of Junior Olympic Program Chair. Nearly half of my life has been dedicated to assisting with the growth of this wonderful region and it’s membership. For 25 years it has been my extreme pleasure to work with a membership so willing to do whatever it took to ensure professional enhancement or athlete success. The depth of character in the mid-west United States is incredible, and none of the accolades of the past 23 years could have ever materialized without the “team first” mentality and philosophy that this region so willingly embraced. It has been an inspiring ride!
For the past 25 years I have always stated that if someone wanted to step front-and-center, and tackle the responsibilities that this role has evolved into, I would gladly step aside. Well “gladly” has been replaced with reluctantly. Still the time has come. We have a candidate wishing to assume the responsibilities and rather than validate my credibility to this region via an election, I will simply pass the torch.
I have all the confidence in the world that this region will continue to set a shining example for the entire country when it comes to providing our athletes and professional members with opportunities designed to make their efforts seem well placed. Yes, I hope that the athletes always receive the first nod. Our regional coaches and judges have made sure of this in the past, and I can only hope that this philosophy continues. The unselfish giving of our professional members, whether it be serving in an administrative capacity, volunteering for leadership roles in our camps, clinics and congresses or even more importantly supporting our events, is what has formed the backbone of our successes.
Lots of thought, debate, effort and passion has gone into developing our current projects, policies and philosophies. Many great people have contributed their brick of knowledge to our wall of fame. That is another great characteristic of this region that I hope never fades. Our stance has always been that every coach, judge, athlete has something to offer our region. We encouraged new coaches to share ideas with the experienced ones, with the bi-product being the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. We all got better because we shared our ideas and this “unique” concept needs to be carried forth.
23 Straight years of earning National Titles does not happen by chance. It is the product of a great plan implemented by hard working, selfless, team oriented individuals who simply refused to settle for mediocrity. Every member played a role! Each pushing and inspiring the next to become better, to improve weaknesses, or to seek a new and better way. The snowball of greatness that this has created is impressive to all who view us from the outside in. To Region 5 it is just the way we do business.
Some of the projects, which have been developed along the way, play a special role in maintaining a standard of excellence, rewarding effort, or providing a method for distributing knowledge. These projects serve as the glue that holds our region together. These include…
* Training Camps – We started with one camp per year and now boast 8 or 9. The impressive list of volunteers that donate for the good of the cause is staggering. The revenue raised due to their generosity is what floats our vitally important athlete reward system (in excess of $100,000 this year).
* Nationals Apparel- Dedication should be rewarded, and in Region 5 it has been for some time. Our national qualifiers are treated like queens, and deservingly so, as to make these incredible young ladies feel as special as they truly are. Nobody does this better than Region 5 … nobody!
* All Star Team Trip – Not every athlete is going to become an elite athlete. Not every athlete will have the opportunity to use gymnastics as a vehicle to experience different cultures around the world. Our All Star Team project has rewarded our best athletes with an experience of a lifetime. As a region we have traveled to an unprecedented 19 countries and to some athletes, this is the highlight of their gymnastics careers. This opportunity for kids is something that should have every member of our gymnastics community standing tall with pride.
* Awards Banquet – Recognizing the accomplishments of our coaches, athletes and judges symbolizes our genuine appreciation for their efforts. Producing national caliber athletes deserves our attention and gratitude. Few, if any can say they do this better than region 5.
* Regional Congress – The constant evolution of this sport dictates that we remain committed to an ongoing educational process. The record-breaking registrations for our Regional congresses speak volumes about how our membership feels about this educational opportunity. Again volunteers make this fly.
I would be lying if I stated that this role didn’t have its related frustrations. Maintaining a consistent standard, enforcing policy expectations, and catering to the wide range of opinions on how things should be handled for any particular event, was at times, challenging. Sure there is always going to be that coach that refused to wear the right apparel, or decided to ignore the travel plan for nationals. Sure there will always be the member that will attempt to circumvent the system in one-way or another. BUT, I can look in a mirror today without a bit of regret in knowing that the “Team/Region First mentality always governed my approach to issues. (Those that deviated from this path at least got the message that they were off course).
I step forth into a new chapter in life feeling great satisfaction in what this region has accomplished over the past 25 years. Beginning with the 1988 slogan “Region 5 is Alive” (Pink Shirts and all) we, as a team, made that a reality and more. It has been an honor to serve such outstanding people and I truly thank ALL OF YOU for making the journey an experience to cherish.
REGION 5 IS ALIVE