Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
When it’s conference time, parents have a fun time celebrating their teams and swimmers with gifts, cheers, goodie bags and get-togethers. Throughout the years, our kids have worked hard and we’ve driven to countless meets and practices, plus washed thousands of loads of towels. Conference meets offer time to reflect and enjoy our years as swim families.
Here are seven ideas to get ready for the big meet:
Where will swim parents stay? Reserve a block of hotel rooms for the swim families. Hopefully, it’s nearby where the swimmers are staying. The team’s parent who undertakes this should be given an extra hug or thank you.
How will you celebrate the seniors? Flowers are one of the many ways—whether it’s bouquets, leis or crowns.
What will you wear? If you’re a Stanford parent, most likely you’ll be sporting a tree on top of your head. Other teams wear their colors complete with flashing lights or hats, plus plenty of team gear.
What about the senior parents—especially the moms? Many teams create a special gift or bling for senior moms to wear their badge of honor proudly.
Do you have a head cheerleader? There’s one parent on every team who will lead the rest in team cheers. Practice a few times and get ready to send your swimmers off before finals with enthusiasm.
What’s going in the goodie bags? Ideas include headbands, beanies, crazy socks, removable tattoos, stickers, playing cards, etc.
What will you have in the stands? Team spirit in the stands and loud cheering is fun. Pompoms, signs and big heads can make it even better. No longer will you be worried about embarrassing your kids. We’ve earned the right to make a scene and be loud.
What are your favorite team traditions for conference meets? What fun and unique ideas do you have to share?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.