The Central Cross Country Ski Association is proud to announce the acceptance of CXC Elite Team athletes Brian Gregg and Caitlin Compton to In the Arena’s (ITA) roster. Founded in 2006, ITA is a youth development organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ITA facilitates the implementation of athlete-designed projects that seek to instill in under-served youths valuable elements of a character education. By encouraging goal-setting, increased self-awareness, and the importance of civic engagement, ITA programs provide youths with a heightened chance of success. ITA believes that the level to which American culture elevates sport empowers athletes to magnetize the attention of youth. From this vantage point, Arena Athletes can forge powerful relationships with children and impart the importance of understanding positive decision-making that improves the trajectory of their lives.
Brian and Caitlin are part of a three-member fall class comprised of all cross-country skiers (Torin Koos rounds out this talented trifecta). The group will join the current roster of 12 athletes –who compete in sports ranging from the marathon, to the triathlon, to the decathlon –which includes 2008 Olympian Mike Hazle. Arena Athletes work in 12 communities across the United States where they have positioned themselves to impact youth in areas of direct need. These programs take place in locales as diverse as the populations they serve: in classrooms, in gymnasiums, on sports fields, in community and recreation centers, in church groups and at summer camps.
Caitlin is a 2004 graduate of Northern Michigan University where she developed a passion for environmental design. She will be working with Youthline Programs through the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Office. Youthline introduces at-risk youths to the 28 parks in the Twin Cities area, the locale Caitlin now calls home. She aims to integrate her knowledge of urban planning and love of outdoor activities in becoming a positive role model for Youthline participants. Further, she hopes to instill in her charges an appreciation of open, ‘green’ space in the urban environment of the Twin Cities. In this setting, Caitlin will encourage engagement in many healthy activities, including the introduction she will provide to cross-country skiing.
Caitlin has identified the possibility of Minneapolis hosting the 2011 Junior National Championships as a catalyst for raising city-wide interest in the sport at the youth level.
Brian will implement his youth mentoring project at the Boys and Girls Club on the Lac Courte Oreilles Native American Reservation in Hayward, Wisconsin. Entering his third year with CXC, Brian is looking forward to the opportunity to give back to his new community. He will work at the LCOBCGA during afternoons throughout the school year in multiple capacities: he will be assisting during quiet study periods; he will be using his time to speak about his role as an elite athlete; and he will be engaging LCOBCGA members in physical activities exploring the areas around the club. By combining these aspects of youth work, Brian hopes to encourage an understanding and love for a healthy, active lifestyle.
Brian plans to connect with the American Birkebeiner Foundation to rejuvenate the youth cross-country ski program at the LCOBCGA. In taking great care to establish his relationship with the LCOBCGA, Brian distills his goals by stating, that his “aim with the LCO Boys and Girls Club is to develop a strong relationship with the youth so that I serve as a positive role model of a healthy lifestyle, while also helping to educate and build character.”
In the Arena would like to join CXC in congratulating Caitlin and Brian as the newest Arena Athletes. They have both already shown great commitment to developing projects that meet unique needs in each of their communities while integrating their individual passions into their projects. We urge you to follow Caitlin and Brian’s experience with In the Arena by tuning into their bi-monthly blogs at www.in-the-arena.org .