On Saturday, February 28th, 2015, Grandmaster Crandall and Master Stalloch brought three American Eagle Style black belts to experience Downhill Tubing and an Indoor Water Park at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, New York. In the American Martial Arts Institute, black belts who are under the age of 18 may request in writing to be accepted into the junior rank class assistant program, often called the Red Top program. This leadership program is documented, in part, in the book Leadership Piece by Piece. The program endeavors to heighten the knowledge of our Red Tops with short trips that provide unique experiences. These excursions expand the Red Tops socially and bring them together through shared experiences. For example, in the past we have taken Red Tops on introductory PADI scuba diving experiences, which were completely paid for by our school. This was a new experience for each of our Red Tops. In return, we received more knowledgeable and excited Red Top participants for our school as a whole. We have also brought the Red Tops skiing and snowboarding at one of our local ski resorts. This also brought them closer to each other and to the school. The day was fun and filled with learning and camaraderie, resulting in more knowledgeable and enthusiastic Red Tops. It also stimulated a lot of talk among the lower ranks who expressed the desire to be Red Tops and be able to participate in these non-martial arts activities. These are just two of the many opportunities we have provided for the Red Tops.
While all of the Red Tops were invited to participate, one was unable to attend due to prior commitments. Former Red Tops, who are now over the age of 18 and therefore can no longer be in the Red Top program, but who are still active in the school were also invited to attend. Many are out of the area attending college and were unable to make the trip. The three current red tops who participated were Ryan Payne, Douglas Hotvedt, and Timothy Ha. One former Red Top was also able to attend: Kyle Mizgala. Grandmaster Crandall and Master Stalloch took care of the expenses so that all of the Red Tops could get lift tickets, lockers, and admission to both events. Also, helping for the day were instructors Mrs. G. Stalloch, Mrs. Crandall, and Miss Crandall. Each year, Grandmaster Crandall and Master Stalloch arrange for at least one special opportunity to help the Red Tops in this leadership program experience new activities that help to make them more well-rounded individuals.
Everyone met at the school in the morning, and the Red Tops rode with an instructor who drove. We were all very fortunate to arrive early and to the first ones on the slopes. The conditions were sunny but cold in the morning. As the day went on, and sun climbed higher in the sky, the day warmed. The tubing lanes were extremely fast, so much that one lane was even closed due to the high speed. An enclosed conveyer belt brought everyone to the top of the mountain after each run for two exciting hours in the morning. Everyone raced several times to see who could get to the bottom the fastest, but we also had enough time to simply enjoy the rush of spinning down the mountain on well-groomed lanes.
Everyone ate lunch at a restaurant in the lodge, and shared food, time, and good conversation.
After lunch, everyone went to the indoor water park with 9 slides, a wave pool, hot springs both indoors and outside, and 84 degree temperature water. The slides were fast and exciting with a large splash pool at the end. With short lines, everyone was able to make several runs. They were also able to enjoy icecream, slushies, and other snacks.
A good time was had by all, and we are looking forward to our next Red Top Fun Day. Some topics being looked into for the future include horseback riding, white water rafting, and others.
To learn more about the Red Top Leadership Program read the book Leadership Piece by Piece or see your instructor.