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Getting to know USTA Professional member Donna McAtee( Mon, Nov 9 00:11:AM)

Getting to know USTA Professional member Donna McAtee

“Getting to know you……… getting to know all about you.”

USTA Professional member Donna McAtee of Oregon has first-hand knowledge of just about every role one can play in the sport of baton twirling: athlete, coach, judge, council member and president, contest director, twirling parent and grandparent and more. Her broad experience gives her a unique perspective on our sport, especially during a global pandemic! Here's what she had to say:

Inside Loop:  During COVID-19, how have you stayed connected to the sport of baton twirling?

McAtee: I have been pretty busy staying connected to our twirling sport. I had just held my annual competition, the Knight’s Jubilee, here in Oregon when everything began shutting down. It ended up being

the only competition in our state for the year. After that I started taking advantage of the online seminars offered by USTA and now WBTF which were offered to judges and coaches. I am the Oregon Council president so I have participated in the “Inner Circle” and the “President Circle” online meetings to keep up with the things USTA is offering to the membership and the plans for the future. I was also one of the online compulsory and movement technique evaluators in May and June so that kept me busy one day a week. In addition I have a couple of granddaughters, Keely and Janelle, who are twirling so along with their coach, Shanon Barker, I try to encourage them to keep twirling. Keely was old enough to participate in the U-Twirl clinic and I helped facilitate her participation in the beginner clinic. It seems I have some twirling activity every week.
Inside Loop: We all are inspired by those we look up to. Who has been a great influence on you within our sport?
McAtee: I started twirling when I was seven in an after school program taught by the high school majorettes and they along with the white and purple satin costume were very cool. Then I was in a parade corp taught by the same majorettes before Jennie England took over our group and introduced us to more professional teaching and twirling. This happened in ninth grade and after a year she must have seen something within this shy girl and began mentoring me to coach in her organization on the Monterey Peninsula in California. I helped coach classes and teams as well as competing with our competition twirl team for five years before getting married. Those high school majorettes and “Miss Jennie” lead me into a sixty year twirling career when my mom thought it would last a couple of years.
     I also admire Shanon Barker as she has such a way of teaching and training her twirlers so no matter what level they are they look great as an individual or a team. She teaches her twirlers a lot of life lessons and can bring the best out of everyone and give them a great experience to performing in the community or at competitions. She teaches them to be friendly and kind to everyone. Janelle, now seven years old, was always a very shy child and sometimes would not even speak to us.  Once she met Shanon at age five and started twirling there, Shanon would not let her be shy. At the first competition that year there was another twirler her age who was feeling really scared and Janelle made sure to go hold her hand. This was a major transformation. I always wish I could be more like Shanon in this respect and inspire my twirlers the way she does.
Inside Loop: Tell us three things the twirling world may not know about you.
McAtee: I’ve been married 46 years.
I drive a Ford Mustang.
I’ve been to Australia three times.
Thanks, Donna, for sharing your experience with us and letting us “Get to Know You!”