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New USA Fencing Speaker Series, Engaging Our Communities, Begins in January

12/18/2020, 4:30pm CST
By Kristen Henneman

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce a new guest speaker series called Engaging Our Communities, which will address the ways that USA Fencing, including its members and clubs, can be dynamic advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Working to create awareness of our own personal impact and a positive, welcoming environment for all, both in the sport of fencing and in society as a whole, the educational series kicks off on January 15 and will run every Friday through February 19.

All sessions in January will begin at 1 p.m. EST. The lineup is as follows:

All sessions are free, although space is limited. Registration for each session is required and participants may register for one or multiple sessions.

Registrations for the January sessions are available here.

After registering, a link to the session will be emailed to each participant.

Registration for the following sessions will open in the coming weeks:

  • February 5: Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Environment
  • February 12: Women in Fencing Roundtable Discussion
  • February 19: How to be a BIPOC Ally

More information on each of the sessions in January is as follows:

Jump With Four Parachutes: Why Uncertainty is Your Friend  

Dr. David Carter.

What did Mike Tyson and Mother Teresa have in common? Nothing. But they both, in their own unique way, approached fear and uncertainty with ruthless intensity: for “Iron Mike”, it was inside of a boxing ring; for Mother Teresa, it was outside, on the streets of Calcutta, India. 

Top performers often express the desire to break barriers, to get out of their comfort zones, and to take on risks, but fear has a way of creating a roadblock to these desires. We get stuck and, as a result, remain stagnate with the "appearance" of success instead of actually plowing ahead. 

In this program, Dr. Carter will expound upon fear – specifically how it hinders our true potential unless we develop an understanding of how to use fear and uncertainty to our advantage. Drawing on personal experiences, historical research, and psychology, this program equips participants with helpful approaches to understanding fear and how we can rid our lives of everyday phobias that are holding us back.  

Participants will learn:

  • How fear originates and forms into limiting beliefs
  • How the greatest performers, CEOs, and humanitarians utilized fear and uncertainty 
  • Five steps to overcoming fear and limiting beliefs for 2021


Dr. David W. Carter is an organizational development specialist having worked with diverse colleges and universities, businesses and non-profit organizations. He has served in the United States Air Force as a combat engineer, as a police officer specializing in community building and as an education consultant for the National Park Service. His background includes founding the Laurie Marie Foundation, a non-profit committed to providing student scholarships, a decade of academic leadership experience and selection as the 2019 facilitator for the Podium Leadership Academy (USOPC).

Dr. Carter has given two TEDx talks about leadership: The Lesser Seat (2015) and How Old Are You? (2016) and he holds a doctorate in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University (summa cum laude). His previous work has appeared on multiple news and media outlets, to include C-SPAN’s Book TV, which highlighted his 2013 bestseller, Mayday over Wichita.

Creating Inclusive Spaces for LGBTQ Athletes

Ashland Johnson.

Sport can play a role in promoting LGBTQ inclusion and visibility. 

Participants will learn about the barriers to access and inclusion for LGBTQ athletes, how they can start an LGBTQ employee resource group in their organization, enact policies that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression and key practices to engage in to be active LGBTQ allies.


Ashland Johnson is the founder and president of the Inclusion Playbook, a sports impact consultancy that specializes in racial justice, gender equity and LBGTQ inclusion. An attorney, equity and inclusion strategist, and former Division I athlete, Ashland has over a decade of civil rights experience working with social justice communities, advising sports leaders, and serving in leadership roles in advocacy organizations.

Adapting your Approach: Creating a Cohesive Conversation Around Parafencing

Ginny Boydston (left) and Catherine Bouwkamp (right).

Fencing is a niche sport and parafencing is a niche sport within a niche sport. Our athletes do not grow up wanting to be parafencers; it is a sport that has to be shown to them. Just like coaches would recruit a seven footer to play basketball, fencing coaches have to be willing to make the approach, and open their doors to potential parafencers. We will help in creating an inclusive environment within your club and help with developing a plan for your approach to potential new parafencers. We will talk through how as a program we can bring parafencing more into the forefront of conversation around competitive fencing as a whole. 


Ginny Boydston, CTRS completed a B.S. in Physical Education & Recreation at Mississippi University for Women in 1976 and a M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Memphis in 1977. She started the therapeutic recreation program at Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) in Jackson, Mississippi in 1978. Boydston greatly expanded the therapeutic recreation program from its original vision as a program provided to patients during their rehabilitation admission following traumatic injury. As the Director of Sport and Recreation for MRC from which she retired in 2020, Boydston developed wheelchair sports programs throughout the state of Mississippi. She provided sports clinics, educational sessions, training programs and leisure opportunities. These sports programs included team sports such as wheelchair softball, boccia and wheelchair rugby and individual sports such as wheelchair tennis, parafencing, handcycling, para powerlifting, air rifle, dance, water and snow skiing. Boydston’s passion for sport and recreation was recognized in her appointment as Team Manager for USA Wheelchair Fencing in 2009 to the present. She also served as the team manager for the USA Wheelchair Fencing Team for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, England and the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  She is also slated as Team Manager for the USA Wheelchair Fencing Team for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in 2021. Through sports and recreation and her unwavering dedication to service, Boydston has helped build self-confidence and restore hope for the lives of athletes across the United States with the parafencing program.

Catherine (Cat) Bouwkamp is a 13-time Parafencing national champion and USA Fencing's youngest Paralympian, competing at age 16 at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. She has dedicated both her athletic and professional careers to creating awareness around athletes with disabilities. Bouwkamp has degrees from Indiana University in nonprofit management and recreational therapy and while at IU, she co-founded the first adaptive sports club, a wheelchair basketball club funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with a $35,000 adaptive sports grant. Bouwkamp completed internships at Disabled Sports USA (MoveUnited), Lakeshore Foundation and U.S. Paralympics before moving to her current position with the United States Association of Blind Athletes in Colorado Springs, Colo. She began her career at USABA as the membership & SafeSport coordinator but has recently transitioned into the role of marketing & fundraising manager. Bouwkamp was recently elected to the USA Fencing Board of Directors and has plans of increasing inclusion and representation of underrepresented and/or marginalized demographics within the organization. 

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