It's a lot of work - I'd say it's the most time consuming and intense project I'm currently involved in. Sometimes in the lead up I asked myself, "Why am I spending 14 hours a day working on this?!". But on the weekend when I looked around and saw all of the little details that were created, it was extremely rewarding.
My role during the weekend is an absolute gong show. I am running from here to there and everywhere shaking hands, signing autographs, opening sessions, closing sessions, handing out awards, having dance parties in the audience, giving away free stuff, checking in on sponsors, thanking volunteers, fist bumping gymnasts, putting out logistical fires, hosting media guests and VIPs, writing scripts and so much more! It's exhausting and amazing all at the same time!
When the Festival started in 2011, I created a mandate for myself that I would high five every participant. We're two years in now and I am proud to say that I've delivered on that promise! I also want to hand out as many of the awards as possible because it's super important to me to have as much interaction with the gymnasts as possible. I found that there were a few instances this year where I literally needed to be in 3 places at once. It was bit stressful, I've got to admit, but we made it work! Next year, I've already put it in my notes that we MUST adjust the schedule so that I am able to present awards to every session. No if's, and's or but's.
The weekend was full of highlights. Some of my favourite moments were:
1. The Big Show - I love breaking the mould and creating a fun and interactive experience for the audience. This session is all about the kids who are watching. I also love having all of my Olympian buddies join in on the fun as celeb judges.
2. Having DJ's at each session - music definitely brings aliveness and energy to the event!
3. The Gymnaestrada performances are awesome. They are really creative and I love how the groups work together!
4. Watching the kids dance after march in. I ask the kids to show the audience their best dance moves and it always makes my heart smile to see them let loose and have fun!
5. The KSGF Cheer - I love the energy of an entire group screaming the same words, "KSGF Rocks!".
6. Having the Aussies there - The Aussie lads are some of the nicest I've met and it was an honour to host them.
7. Seeing all of the volunteers busting their tails and feeding off the adrenaline of the event. I have a pretty amazing team…
8. Watching the action on the big screen. More so, watching the reaction of the kids and their families when their mugs hit the big screen!
9. Meeting so many people and hearing super positive feedback about the event.
10. Looking up at the Right To Play banner and knowing that we were going to make an impact beyond the gymnastics floor.
11. Seeing the electronic scoring system work after months of finger crossing!
After 2 years of KSGF, our entire team now has a clear vision of what's possible. I think it's safe to say that KSGF has officially exploded and is the GO TO meet of the season.
Thanks to everyone who was involved! It was an incredible edition and 2013 is going to be even more awesome. Dates for 2013 will be announced soon - Stay tuned!
Below are some photos from the event courtesy of Dave Holland. Please visit our website, Facebook page, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr to re-live all of the action.