Sometimes it’s hard to know what kids are really getting out of the activities that they participate in. Though we as parents and coaches may know all of the benefits of fencing, the real question doesn’t have anything at all to do with what we think kids should be getting out of it – no! The central question is what are the kids actually getting out of it.
Children can often be mysterious, leaving parents and teachers guessing about what they’re thinking. It’s hard to get a handle on what’s inspiring for them – what things will lead them to personal growth and confidence. Sport has long been a way that we’ve seen to access personal development in children, but it’s fantastic to get some serious confirmation!
We recently had a new student join our club at AFM, a 12 year old girl named Erica. Like many students, Erica has quickly just fallen in love with the sport. What’s amazing is that this bright and articulate young woman has shared her perspective on fencing with us through an essay. Today (with her permission), we share her essay with you.
I have had many accomplishments that I am proud of. I volunteer at my local pet store, I participated in a mural painting based on the thirty Human Rights, I have been dancing for eight years, and I have received five Academic Merit awards. I have learned a lot from those accomplishments, but recently, I found something that I am extremely passionate about and it is my biggest accomplishment yet, fencing.
Fencing is about strategy, quick thinking, dexterity, common sense, movement, and dedication. I have to be light on my feet and thick-skinned. I have to be ready or I am guaranteed to lose. I love fencing, not only because it is an exciting sport, but because it teaches me qualities that I must have in order to prosper in the outside world. My first competition is in November and, with the help of my coach, I will succeed. My goal is to reach the Junior Olympics.
All of my accomplishments have made impacts in my life and I have learned from them. Some taught me lessons I should apply, some told me what I am doing right. I always learn more about myself. Through my accomplishments, I have learned that I am dedicated, driven, interested, energetic, and passionate about everything I do.
– Erica Vacca, November 2015
Even given our years of experience, we found Erica’s words to be both humbling and inspiring. What do you think? How have your children expressed their thoughts about fencing? Let us know in the comments!