Student-Athletes Learn Leadership Skills at DIAA Conference
Student-athletes from around the state had the opportunity to practice leadership and sportsmanship skills this month at a Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) conference in Lewes. The three-day event was established 12 years ago by Tower Hill Athletic Director Jack Holloway and is now run by college counseling assistant and coach Linda Ogden.
“We really listen and give a voice to student-athletes about what they’re seeing and how to respond effectively,” Ogden said.
Ogden and Holloway were among the speakers who addressed topics like defining leadership, DIAA regulations and sports medicine. DIAA Executive Director Kevin Charles talked about DIAA’s objective and hot topics on students’ minds about athletics. What can be most helpful for students, though, is acting out and discussing skits in small groups about scenarios that students might encounter with their teams.
“The smaller breakout sessions gave the athletes the opportunity to discuss specific issues they were seeing on the field or the courts, and we provided the tools to help them handle these situations,” Ogden said.
The conference also includes one day of community service as a team- and character-building activity. This year, the group went to Camp Barnes in Frankford to participate in sports and activities with students and adults who have special needs.
Seniors Kiera Wendel and Ben Crain attended the conference to represent Tower Hill, joining 34 other students at the Virden Center Aug. 7-9 in Lewes.
“I wasn't sure what to expect going into this conference, but I'm so happy I went,” Wendel said. “The DIAA is doing something that a lot of other high school organizations could take notes from: hearing high schoolers’ opinions on changes that will affect them and their peers. It also allowed for the exchange of ideas between different schools that have different traditions and regulations. I'm so glad I had the privilege of going and being a part of that.”