Wingman 4 Dance
I am very excited to implement this amazing learning experience into MNG this upcoming season and seasons to come. I am just new at this, but so pumped about what it stands for and how we can learn, grow and develop from it. More info to come each month, but, below will give you an idea of where it came from!
Wingman is a youth-led social and emotional learning environment from Dylan’s Wings of Change, a foundation dedicated to the memory of Dylan Hockley, one of the first-grade victims of the Sandy Hook School shootings on December 14th, 2012. Dylan had autism and was able to navigate the world and enjoy life so much more when those around him would step up and be his Wingman.
In September of 2015, the Wingman for Schools program formally launched at these three schools. Through media reports, conference presentations and networking other schools across Connecticut and New York decided to adopt Wingman as their climate improvement and social and emotional development methodology. As of September 2017, there will be 14 schools enrolled in Wingman.
A chance meeting at New Fairfield’s launch event provided the spark for the Wingman for Dance program. Renowned speaker Ed Gerety came from New Hampshire to kick off the Wingman program in the school and his wife Suzanne visited with him. Suzanne invited her friend Jessica Michaels, a dance instructor from Newtown who had been deeply affected by the Sandy Hook Shooting and whom Suzanne thought would benefit from seeing one glimmer of good that had emerged. Jess watched the launch event unfold and immediately began thinking about how this program could be adapted for the Dance studio. Jess and Ian began working on the Wingman for Dance program (Competition Team, Summer Camp, and Premier Guide) and the pilot launched in nine studios across the United States in the fall of 2016.
The Wingman logo was chosen very carefully and is extremely special. The image is strong, like a superhero’s badge representing how a true Wingman strives to go above and beyond. Dylan’s favorite color was purple. He would come home from school each day proudly carrying a picture he had made from purple dots.