LETTER: The Power of One

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor:

Recently, the YMCA of Greenwich offered a one-week “No Swimmer Left Behind” clinic giving every Greenwich resident who is a reluctant swimmer a chance to overcome their fear of the water. I jumped at the chance to enroll my daughter in the program.

While she was an eager swimmer, all the lessons we had taken up to this point, group lessons at another pool in town, left her mostly dangling at the side of the pool watching ring around the rosy from the sidelines. As she gained in years, her swimming skills fell behind and her sliding confidence about swimming seemed to somehow, mysteriously, pour over to other areas of her life-though the challenge of moments when she actually found herself in the water where minimal summertime 1/2 hours in the pool, at camp.

If ever one questions the power of one person to transform another individual, for the good, I invite them to go and see the magic of Samantha Lusher, Swim School Coordinator of the YMCA of Greenwich.

Ms. Lusher embodies what it means to be a beloved coach, an indispensable mentor, an adult in a child’s life who literally lights up a young person’s soul, building their confidence and self-esteem and sense of self-mastery so they are willing to not only try a new skill but capable of seeing themselves as the person she holds them up to be. Ms. Lusher’s gift in doing this is more valuable than all the jewels in Betteridge.

I have seen few other adults in my lifetime with Ms. Lusher’s social skills put to the service of simply building-up-youth. Children flock to her and this is what I observe are the reasons why:

She listens. Have you ever met an adult who seriously listens to children when they speak? In this world of rush, rush, achieve, achieve, achieve, do, do, do more, this rarified skill is akin to witnessing one of the seventh wonders of the world. You may live your entire lifetime and only meet three people who know how to listen.

Ms. Lusher not only listens, she inquires, “What was the favorite part of your day?” “What are you thinking of right now?” and then — she jokes.

She jokes and pushes and inspires and prods and knows just what kids are capable of-more than they think. In Samantha’s orbit everyone becomes a success.

And, she plays. It’s an odd thing to see in Greenwich. We serious, infrequent smiling, over-achieving homo sapiens who occupy this territory called Greenwich-land have long-ago forgotten the art of playing, being present, serving others, getting to know children-other than our own-who dwell in our community, lifting them up, with our respective talent. We simply have no time to share our hobbies with strangers’ kids.

So you want to reach Ms. Lusher? I can’t really suggest you do — by phone nor email nor text nor any “thing” else.

Because she really is not that easy to reach. She’s in the pool. She’s in deep with kids. She’s the gal where that flock is, the person with 10 kids begging to spend 10 more minutes with her, the woman with the hugest smile in the room as three kids attempt to climb up her back or push off her knees. She is the woman we are all dazzled by because she cares and we know it.

Coaches have the insane ability to spread so much goodness that they become ground zero for a confidence revolution. From just one gal, Samantha Lusher, Greenwich is a better town. What if we all were like her? What if we all listened to our community’s children? Greenwich would become the spring board to so many great noble citizens, a special Government Commission would have to come and study us.

Jodi Weisz

Greenwich

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