Over the past few months with Nine13sports, I have been able to expand on a variety of skills ranging from community engagement, corporate relations, and youth development. However, the most fundamental skill-set I have been able to develop is communication. Communication can include a multitude of types of interactions, and Nine13sports has given me a platform to grow in many different environments.
This organization connects with numerous types of individuals on a daily basis; therefore, it is necessary to adjust communication styles daily. While some more than others, each and every staff member will be out in the field running programs in schools and at community events. This can be quite different from working in the office and handling things behind the scenes. For what may seem like obvious reasons, speaking with a student who is taking part in our programming is drastically different than speaking with a teacher, community partner, or corporate sponsor. Similarly, speaking with members of the community who are completely unfamiliar with our programming requires a different approach altogether. Apart from the evident changes such as tone and vocabulary, it is really about the message that we are hoping to convey to each audience.
The overall goal across all mediums is to use the art of the bicycle to teach and positively influence youth, however, this can mean different things to different audiences. I’ll use our Kids Building Bikes program as an example. For anyone who does not already know, Kids Building Bikes is made up of after-school class sessions covering bicycle maintenance, rider safety skills, and rules of the road. Upon completion of the program, each student receives a brand new bicycle, lock, and helmet. To students, Kids Building Bikes is a fun activity after school where they get to work hands-on, learn new things with their friends, and earn a new bike. To corporate sponsors, this program is an opportunity to have a direct impact on youth education within their community. In the eyes of parents and community members, Kids Building Bikes provides workforce development skills to youth who may not otherwise have access to them at a young age. While all of these goals get achieved through one program, it has become apparent in my time working here that it is important to emphasize these differences to each varying audience. For this reason, it is key to understand exactly what our programs can do for people at all levels and be able to speak to each unique purpose that Nine13sports’ programs can serve.
Nine13sports has not only given me access to communicate with diverse populations but has also given me the tools to develop these skills. Coming in as an intern, I wasn’t expecting that I would be leading school programs, running community events, and working directly with corporate sponsors right from the start. It is exciting to interact with individuals from all different sides of the programming spectrum and I look forward to continuing to develop on these skills in the next couple of months.