USA Swimming Women’s Coaches Leadership Retreat

As most of you already know, I wear many different hats.  “A Jeanne in the Kitchen” is only one of the many.  Many of the other hats I wear are water related, and certainly for my paying jobs, they are all water related.  Aside from being Chef Jeanne, I am also a water aerobics instructor (soon to be an instructor to the instructors) and a swim coach.  I coach primarily the 10 and unders age groups.  This past weekend I attended a women’s leadership summit and retreat in beautiful Black Forest, right outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It was an awesome event and I got to meet and connect with some wonderful, strong, courageous women, many of whom are leaders and pioneers in the world of women’s coaching.  Because of these strong leaders, the pathways have been opened for many other women to follow.  A big thank you to all of them.  Because of you and all you have done, we are now able to follow in your footsteps.  Hopefully we can leave our marks on the world of swimming just like you have, although we have very big shoes to fill.

At this event, we were able to stay in this beautiful, rustic retreat which allowed us to not only reconnect with what is important to us, and to “find our why’s”, but we were able to do so while reconnecting with nature as well.


We spend the bulk of the weekend in this beautiful, rustic gem.  I would love to have this as my house.


Making new friends and connections.  Life is all about making connections.  Women came from all over the United States to be a part of this fabulous retreat.


We all stayed in these cute, rustic cabins.


My roommate Norie and I.  I got very lucky and had a fantastic roommate.  She and I just really hit it off.  Norie is now coaching in Santa Monica, CA, not too far from where I grew up.


The gifts of nature that surrounded us.



One of our “assignments” was to “forest bathe”, which was to take a walk through the woods on our own to clear our heads of any negativity and to help us reconnect with ourselves.  Well … it started out just fine, and I was happily hiking around, taking great pictures, and then I got lost and it started to really snow, coming down very heavily.  Needless to say, as I was lost, yelling “hello” to gain any passers-by attention and tracking around through the cold snowy weather, it was no longer so much fun for me after this.  Fortunately though, I am VERY resourceful, and once I found a dirt road with tire tracks on it, I followed it to someone’s house.  I knocked on the door and explained the situation, and the lady who lived there very graciously took me back to our “home away from home”.  I had hiked about 3 miles in total, and ended up almost a mile away from our retreat location.  I did not go out exploring on my own after that.   I had had enough off-road experiences at that point.  The ironic thing is that my roommate Norie also got lost and had to be rescued.  I guess great minds think a like, in both good and bad situations.

We had quite a bit of snowfall during our stay as well.  Typical to Colorado’s weather, it would snow, then a few hours later would melt, then would snow again.  On our last day, we had clear blue skies and 62* weather.  Only in Colorado.


My friend, my boss, and our Head Coach for the 10 and unders age groupers, Lauren.  Lauren and I have such a good bond and such a great friendship and working relationship.  She makes going in to “work” seem like I am just hanging out with my buddy.    Lauren is simply AWESOME!!!!!


After the summit ended, some of us went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Sadly we were not able to take the tour, since it is only open for touring during the summer hours, but it was still very cool to go and to see what we could.



During our down time, when we were not busy working, we got to really meet and socialize with our new friends.  This is my new friend Hillary.  What makes this friendship so special, is that it really ties my two worlds of swimming and cooking together.  Unbeknownst to either of us at the time, Hillary had been a follower of “A Jeanne in the Kitchen”, and she says she learned how to cook through following cooking blogs, including mine.  WOW!!!  Such a small world.  Who knew?!  This was a totally surreal moment and revelation to both of us.





Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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