“iDREAM” to go to the Olympics

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"My dream is to compete in the Olympics!"

Tiffany Macke, Community and Economic Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension, led her Collaborative Leadership class through the 100 Dreams Inventory. This exercise, from her iDREAM Project, helps students use dreaming and goal-setting to navigate career and life goals. Macke encourages serious dreams along with silly, crazy, seemingly unattainable dreams. Eitan Troyansky, a student in her spring 2018 class, said one of his silly dreams was to try out for the Israeli Bobsled Team and compete in the Olympics.

Eitan graduated from college but stayed in touch with Macke through Facebook, where he posted his fitness training accomplishments. After seeing one of his videos, Macke commented how she appreciated his efforts. He replied, "Do you remember the dreams activity and my random, out-of-nowhere idea of becoming an Israeli bobsledder and maybe even making it to the Olympics? I'm doing it! I'm not sure I would have pursued it, if not for all that talk about going after dreams even if they are wild."

To make dreams a reality, Macke's students set goals and celebrate milestones they have achieved along the way. In pursuit of his dream, one of Eitan's milestones was starting intense fitness training. His next was to try out for the bobsled team.

Though the tryouts were rigorous and exhausting, he earned a spot on the Israeli Bobsled Team, with a chance to train and compete in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. In the fall of 2018, the team flew to Calgary to practice on the same track used in the 1988 Olympics.

In the midst of training, Eitan learned a valuable lesson: "Sometimes you have to refocus." After following his dream, he decided not to continue. The training was more intense and exhausting than he imagined. Going to the Olympics was no longer Eitan's goal. Nevertheless, through planning and hard work, he learned the importance of goal-setting and being proactive to make his dreams a reality. Eitan wouldn't have made it to the bobsled track at Olympic Park in Calgary, Canada if he hadn't pursued that dream. Macke is proud of her students for dreaming, creating milestones, and discovering what they can achieve. Trying something new is a success!

Macke's iDREAM Project is being piloted in the Marshall School District in Clark County, facilitated by a community dream team of local community leaders. The leaders use this program to help students realize the importance of dreaming, goal setting, and proactive efforts.

With Macke's guidance, community leaders run the project and inspire students by example. The leaders often interact with students outside of the classroom, in the community. Marshall School District Dream Team community leaders include a radio station owner, retired teacher, local artist, school administrator and the director of the Chamber of Commerce.

The iDREAM Project encourages students of all ages to dream big, take focused action, and learn from failure. Once students realize their dreams are possible and a network of community leaders are backing them, anything is possible!

For further information about the iDREAM Project, contact Tiffany Macke tmacke@illinois.edu