RSG! Interview w/ Michaela Reynolds and John Naber

The ‘21 - ‘22 school year is approaching its end, and summer break is two short months away. Teachers, students, and families will revel in the sun to claim their rest before the new school year begins. At Ready, Set, Gold!, we’re thrilled to use the summer to reflect on lessons learned, our growth, and the future of RSG! We couldn’t think of a better duo to get the early 411 from than RSG! Chairman John Naber and Director Michaela Reynolds. Read our sit-down interview with John and Michaela below.

We first sat down with John to discuss his proudest moments and see if we could get a teaser of RSG!’s goals. Guess what, friend?! We certainly did!

Me: John, as the Chairman, how has Ready, Set, Gold! evolved over the last 16 years? What aspects of this journey are you most proud of?

John: Ready, Set, Gold! has evolved to the point that it is now the primary way that Southern California students learn about the Olympic and Paralympic values. I am proud of how the program adapted during the Covid pandemic and how we found a way to grow our audience and continue to serve our community. With the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Los Angeles, we are ideally situated to increase our impact in this community, and possibly nationwide as well.

Me: Wow! Expanding nationwide would certainly be a huge accomplishment. What other milestones is Ready, Set, Gold! aiming for next year?

John: We are trying to grow our schools and grow our group of Olympians and Paralympians in order to serve a much larger population. In order to accomplish these goals, we will also have to increase our charitable donations, sponsorships, and partnerships. A fantasy goal is to have an RSG! student qualify to compete in the 2028 Olympic or Paralympic Games.

Me: That would be awesome and a ‘full circle’ moment for the organization. What aspect of RSG! excites you most?

John: I am excited about our executive team and their ability to use technology in a creative and effective way.

Me: Technology has made a huge impact on the expansion of RSG!, specifically the Virtual Series that launched in 2020. Michaela, the second year of RSG!’s Virtual Series is coming to a close. What can students and teachers expect for next season?

Michaela: Next year we are excited to be implementing 7+ new schools for our in-person program. Additionally, we will be launching another fun year of virtual programming with curriculums delivered by Olympians and Paralympians representing never-before-seen sports on the RSG! platforms.

Me: It sounds like a lot of new and fun memories will be made. What has been your most memorable moment of the ‘21-’22 programming?

Michaela: There have been countless memorable firsts for RSG! this program year that has contributed to student impact. For many, our Girls Empowerment Day was the first field trip these students have been on in 2+ years. It was the first time they met an Olympian/Paralympian, and it was the first time they had been to a professional stadium. The ability to inspire and push for equality and equity is part of RSG!’s mission and something I wish I had growing up. It is so important that we provide the next generation with these opportunities to reach new heights.

Me: You are 100% correct! RSG!’s pillar of equality and equity in sports can open up opportunities and promote stronger communities. How can teachers best utilize Ready, Set, Gold! in schools and virtually to guarantee optimal reach?

Michaela: RSG! teachers are implementing the Virtual Series in a number of ways, which is so fun because it supports educators in delivering and enhancing their curriculum. What is so unique about our In-Person program is how the athletes are from the same community these students are growing up in. There is a level of relatability that digs deeper into the connection they build as a classroom and the goals they set.

Thank you Chairman John Naber and Director Michaela Reynolds for sharing your time with me and giving us all the scoop! Ready, Set, Gold! is creating opportunities for So-Cal’s youth to be their best selves and strive toward achieving their goals. We’re so excited for it!