Day One: July 21, Orange County Badminton Club, let the games begin! The OCBC courts are filled with the many badminton-hungry kids from all over the USA. With shuttles flying over the nets and young players in vibrant colors there seems to be, for the moment, no focus on clubs, states or regions - just young people playing. But what is a badminton venue with 287 kids without parents? How often is the first coach of the junior player a parent? Very often!
Like anywhere, parents undeniably provide the energy needed for the growth of junior badminton in the USA. From organizing, coordinating, managing, chauffeuring, officiating, supporting, doing committee work and taking up the most challenging task of all - coaching - parents are the ones who raise their hands.
Yesterday, Fred Coleman, who represents the USA Junior Committee and Board met with these "parent coaches." This group of coaches is not a newly formed group - they have always been around. Parent coaches are made up of a mixture of experienced and new coaches. Now for the first time, the USA Badminton (USAB) Coaching Department and the Junior Committee are recognizing them more formally. This year, the USAB Coaching Department is focusing on sending parent coaches to the PanAm Junior Championships in Puerto Rico as assistant coaches (17-23 August). They will work with USAB's six other high performance coaches appointed by USAB and will be overseen by Andy Chong. Yesterday's inter-active meeting placed everyone on the same page on the dynamics of coaching at the PanAm Junior Championships.
In another meeting, Ray and Amy Ng, the coordinators/managers for the PanAm Junior Championships Team USA had a session for parents who are also accompanying their children to Puerto Rico. Information on logistics ranging from taxi fares to security was explained to the enthusiastic parents. No team manager could handle the responsibility of watching over 61 kids without the group of parents accompanying Team USA. In fact, we would not be able to send the record-breaking 61 kids as a team for the PanAm Junior Championships without these parents.
As Ray and Amy are coordinators/managers for PanAm Junior Championships, Wayne Lum agreed to be coordinator for the World Juniors Championships. This shows us that parents are willing to take on much higher responsibilities.
A big thank you goes out to all of the parents on the Junior Committee: especially Amy Ng, Widya Susanto, Teresa Kramer, Lin Fran, Yvonne Chern who have contributed to the development of planning and policy for Junior events, tournaments, camps, teams and squads.