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Go Big or Go Home: A Healing Journey

By Aby Ryan

A Healing Journey

Athena Camps turned 9 yesterday and I have been doing some reflecting on this journey.

Since the beginning, Athena Camps, my small business, has been through many phases – expanding and contracting.  These cycles, I have learned, match up with my personal healing journey (I know, big surprise).

2019 was a year of expansion. Athena Camps updated our look and brought on new talented women. I turned 50 whilst I tested out public speaking to grow my small business.   In trying this on, I found out that I have only one speed – go big or go home (Again, no surprise there).

Of the many reasons I started Athena Camps, the main one is that I want girls to have strong female coaches that they can learn from, look up to and emulate.  Like many entrepreneurs, I had a fire inside me fueled by personal experience.  I was molested by my coach at the age of 14.

In 2011, I knew this was the impetus to birth Athena Camps, but never thought I would have the courage to tell my personal story.  But since 2011, our culture has shifted.  Back then, I couldn’t share this because no one was talking about this topic.  I thought I was the only one, yet I knew deep down I wasn’t.  Thanks to the brave Michigan athletes, our local sheros (you know who you are), and the Me Too movement, I share this with you today and have considered sharing it with a wider audience.

And this brings me to today. 2020 is presenting to be a contracting year.  I don’t want to speak publicly about my story – but in the process of trying to “go big” I have healed on an entirely new level thanks to those who came before me.   My hope is that the strength I have received enabling me to share my trauma will reach others so they do not feel shame and alone.  Together we can do what we could never do alone.