Saturday, September 25, 2021

Meet Oscar, Club Metro Lead and GOAT

Club Metro is back for Fall! We have several weeks of outstanding adaptive recreation opportunities and a world-class staff leading the way!

Club Metro is Southlake’s premier Adaptive Recreation program. Focused on inclusivity and fun, Club Metro provides recreation and leisure opportunities to people of all abilities. Everyone knows that Club Metro is one of the best programs in Southlake, and that’s largely thanks to our world-class Club Metro Lead, Oscar Rodriguez.

Oscar exhibits a quiet kind of leadership. He is very calm and always has everyone’s best interest at heart. Oscar has been a Lead at Club Metro for the last ten years and teaches special education full-time during the school year. A servant-leader at heart, Oscar knows the importance of Adaptive Recreation. He always incorporates his exemplarily social skills, contagious happiness, and earnest collaboration when interacting with Club Metro participants and staff. Oscar makes sure that everyone feels included and has a seat at the table.

Oscar is also in charge of running Club Metro activities—a duty he executes with kindness and grace. If a Game Night is going on, Oscar teaches participants how to play and then joins in on the fun. Oscar is a mentor and a friend through and through. He never misses a chance to teach participants about the meaning of friendship, respecting others, and having fun.

His mentorship extends beyond Club Metro participants and onto the staff. Oscar always gives staff opportunities to grow and create positive relationships with participants. Fellow staff members feel comfortable reaching out to him for guidance on personal and professional matters. Oscar aims to make sure everyone feels safe in the Club Metro environment.

Here’s what Oscar has to say about being a Club Metro Lead:

What do you like best about Club Metro?
What I love most about Club Metro are the participants. I love seeing them grow and enjoy being there. You can tell that they want to come back the following week.

When I first started with Club Metro, we only had 12 participants. Now we have over 60! Every day is a highlight: their smiles, their stories. I like making them feel like movie stars every day because Club Metro is truly about them.

I like to focus on soft skills like communication, social techniques, and daily living skills. It’s critical to practice those every day. That’s what keeps me in the program. Some of the people I work with started the program as teenagers, and now they are successful adults in their 30s!

I love seeing them become independent, and we do various things around DFW, especially before COVID. When Club Metro has an outing, the focus is on safety and fun. We go to restaurants, the movies, the library, and it’s all about learning independence and having the freedom to be themselves.

What is one of your proudest achievements?
I love this question because it’s not about me, it’s about the participants. My achievements are their achievements. They are successful young adults, and that’s very rewarding.

I wish I could measure success tangibly, but it comes down to how they feel daily. Every day is different, but the best part is taking something negative and turning it into a positive. We practice sharing personal experiences and talking about what they have going on in their lives. Self-advocacy is key. We also do various sports like baseball and basketball—that’s what recreation is all about! Therapeutic Recreation is about learning real-life skills, and the recreational part is about having fun.

How did you know you wanted to go into Adaptive Recreation?
I started this career 30 years ago as a Special Education teacher. That experience made me want to continue working with this community and help kids with their individual educational needs. I also have a lot of after-school recreational experience. I used to coach sports, referee, and play!

There’s a real need for Adaptive Recreation in sports, and being a teacher taught me the special needs aspects of it. Therapeutic Recreation combines both of my passions into one!

I also really love working with my fellow staff members. Everyone puts their all into making this program successful, and I enjoy watching them grow. In the future, there will be many people just like me, and they will have the skills needed to work with this population.

In the words of Programs Coordinator Gretchen Morgan, “Oscar is literally the GOAT: Greatest of All Time!”

Club Metro would not be the success it is without Oscar. Get to know him at the next Club Metro meeting starting on September 13! Register here.