This will be my fourth year as a member of the ALANA Steppers. Although I did not have any background in step in 2008, I went to try-outs with three friends. I was absolutely terrified throughout the entire process. We were taught three different steps within 30 minutes by the “Bigs” and then we had to perform them on St. Joe’s stage. My stomps were low and my claps did not make any significant sound, but I made the team.
All of the new steppers were given “Lil” names that the “Bigs” thought illustrated our personalities. I became “Lil Sis Pure.” Over the past few years our team has changed so much. Our “Bigs” have graduated and new “Lils” have joined. I am now a “Big” and I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed.
I love my team. Over the years, we have been very lucky in getting some of the sweetest members. The teamwork and cooperation required to produce clean beats helps us to respect and rely on one another. Although step is primarily an extra-curricular activity, its latent functions are helping to prepare us for adulthood. Through step, we learn team work, communication skills, how to be effective leaders, how to respect authority, and how to express our creativity. We work together to create routines and fundraise to support our activities. One of the most significant benefits of being a part of the ALANA Steppers is that I feel like I have developed true friendships with my teammates.
We do a lot of things together. We work out together and have team bonding nights. We even have our own mentoring program within the team. Each “Lil” is assigned a “Big” as a mentor. The mentor-mentee relationship is profound. The mentor is open and willing to help the mentee with issues that involve step, academics, and social life. In many ways, the mentees also help the mentors and the bond is strengthened. I just got a new mentee. Her name is Jesse Q. We had lunch together to get to know one another better. I really like her and I hope that we get closer.