Saturday, May 26, 2012

Title IX

There’s a lot of press right now celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, a portion of the Educational Amendments of 1972 that required federally funded institutions to offer equal opportunities based on sex.  The measure wasn’t specifically about sports, it covered all areas of a school’s activities, but it has become known for the huge influence it had on women’s sports.

In the summer of 1972, when Title IX became law, I was anxiously awaiting the beginning of my freshman year of high school at a new high school in a new town.  I knew nothing about women’s sports or educational amendments.  I was wrapped up in my first summer job, making new friends and the cute boy who was the dishwasher at the restaurant where I worked.  Growing up I had gone to watch boys play Little League baseball, school basketball and flag football, but there were no girls’ sports to watch or participate in.  PE was the bane of our days – changing clothes in the community locker room, possibly getting sweaty – Ew!  PE and sports were for rough-and-tumble boys, not for girls who wanted to look good and be popular – at least that’s the message I received from parents, schools and peers.  Even throughout high school, as Title IX was being enacted, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for girls in organized sports, at least not in our little town, and the attitude was still that sports were for boys and those few girls who were considered to be “jocks”.

Flash forward twenty-five years to 1997.  My oldest daughter was entering kindergarten and we signed her up for fall soccer.  A few months later she played basketball.  She was five years old and she was participating in sports.  She was part of a team and she loved it.  She was a natural athlete, so it made sense to involve her in sports, but I realized then the chasm between what had been available when I was five years old and what was available for my daughter.  Might I have been a natural athlete?  Could I have excelled in a team sport?  Those questions remain unanswered because the opportunity simply wasn’t there for me to be able to open the door and find out.

My girls take athletics and their abilities for granted.  They were, initially, amazed to find out that one short generation ago the view of girls and sports was so very different from what it is today.  When I read about Title IX I actually become teary-eyed.  My emotions well not only because of the pride and gratefulness I feel for my daughters’ athletic abilities, but also because of the little girl within me that never had the chance to test her athletic prowess, to run on a field, to be part of a team.

Monday, May 21, 2012


One of the constants throughout my childhood was my involvement with Camp Fire Girls (now known as Camp Fire USA).  My mom was my leader and my dad was on the local board.  My childhood memories abound with weekly Camp Fire Girls meetings and activities, summers at Namanu, camp clean-up weekends, service activities and Council Fires.  A couple of times, a scheduled Camp Fire activity conflicted with something else I wanted to do and I wanted to quit, but my mom wouldn’t let me.  I remember her telling me that someday I’d be glad that she made me stay the course.  And, of course, she was right.  I participated in Camp Fire from 2nd grade, which was the youngest available level at the time, through high school.  At the end of my senior year, I was awarded the WoHeLo Medallion, Camp Fire’s equivalent to the Eagle Scout Badge.

WoHeLo stands for work, health and love and, in order to earn the Medallion, a girl must complete a series of activities in the areas of leadership, teaching, service and advocacy.  I don’t remember what all of my activities were – the one that stands out in my mind was being a group leader for two years for a group of 4th and 5th graders who wouldn’t have been able to have a group without my leadership (no parents were able to volunteer).  My mom was the official leader and supervised all of our events, but the actual leadership, planning and execution fell to me.  I know there were other projects and somewhere I have a notebook detailing my WoHeLo Medallion projects, but I haven’t come across it in decades.  What I do know is that my involvement with Camp Fire throughout my childhood and, especially, my WoHeLo Medallion activities during my teen years, left an indelible mark on my character and the adult I would become.

This past Saturday I attended the Grand Council Fire in Eugene where my cousin’s daughter received the WoHeLo Medallion.  The last Council Fire I attended was 36 years ago when I received my WoHeLo Medallion.  As I sat in the audience Saturday, the memories flooded back.  A Council Fire is a formatted ceremony beginning with the WoHeLo call and continuing on through the processional, the Pledge of Allegiance, awards, songs and ending with the recessional.  As soon as the first WoHeLo was called I was transported back four decades.  Songs I haven’t thought about in 36 years came tumbling back into my brain and out my mouth.  Verses read by the participants – the same verses I used to read – were back on the tip of my tongue.  It was a magical experience.  My cousin’s daughter was named for my mom and my aunt (her grandma).  I know my mom would be so pleased that her namesake earned this award and she’d also be happy to know that, once again, I had to admit she was right.  Staying the course was the right thing to do.

At the Council Fire, we sang the Law of Camp Fire.  I realized that this Law which was so much a part of my childhood and which includes: 

·    seek beauty
·    give service
·    pursue knowledge
·    be trustworthy
·    hold on to health
·    glorify work
·    be happy

…pretty much sums up my adult outlook on life –


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Super Moms

My husband sent me this cartoon recently.  I was flattered and entertained.  I often feel like Super Woman as I juggle schedules, errands, work and dreams, but I don’t often believe that our children actually look at me and think, “Wow!  She does an amazing job!”  I don’t mean for that to be whiney.  I look back at my childhood and I’m sure my mom wore a similar cape.  She ran a babysitting business in our home where the children were loved and happy.  She took care of her mother 24/7 for the last five years of my grandma’s life.  She belonged to several groups/clubs/lodges.  She volunteered relentlessly – I don’t think she ever mastered how to say, “No.  I can’t take that on right now.”  She was a Super Woman, but I never saw her that way.  In fact, though I loved her immensely and knew I had a good thing going on with her as my mom, as a child/teen/young adult, I probably more often saw her faults than all of the great things she did.

I read an article yesterday titled, “Five Things You Don’t Know About Your Mom”.  The fifth thing is:  She loves you in a way you will never love her.  I think that included in that statement is the reality that she does more for you and your family than you will ever truly realize or appreciate.  Again, I don’t mean for that to be a whiney statement – it’s just the reality of perspective.  So, I’ll just grab my cape (that’s a Super Woman cape, not a witch’s cape – though some days my kids might say that the witch’s cape is more appropriate) and set out to enjoy this day when kids do make the effort to appreciate their moms.  And to all my fellow Super Moms out there (including my own) – Happy Mother’s Day!