Page 7 - FIS World November 2021
P. 7

When a Medal is not Metal
FIS Athletics modernizes a tradition
Along-standing tradition of FIS Athletics is the end of season Sports Awards event where teams gather along with their coaches and parents to recap the season and celebrate their successes. Coaches are offered the opportunity to select three players from their team and recognize the players’ particular team contribution with a medal. The medals, made of metal and gender specific in design, were sourced from the United States and had been for decades without change.
While conducting the medal inventory in spring 2021 to prepare for the upcoming school year, the Athletics and Activities Team took a closer look at the medals using a different lens. Considering both sustainability and gender stereotyping, the team quickly realized that the medals needed a substantial rejuvenation. With that in mind, the team launched into some well- thought out brainstorming sessions and landed on the idea of creating medals from a naturally-sourced material – wood.
For the design, the team quickly ascertained that the Athletics symbol was hands down the best option. With the material and design established, the quest began to find a supplier. With the carbon footprint in mind, the team focused exclusively on European suppliers. While receiving samples from potential partners, the team determined that the best supplier was in FIS’s own backyard, at the Oberurseler Werkstätten.
Founded over 50 years ago, the Oberurseler Werkstätten is an organization catering to people with disabilities, with the aim to give them skills to gain employment while maintaining a strong focus on the individual needs of the person. Currently, there are over 500 members of the Oberurseler Werkstätten providing a multitude of services from assembly work to gastronomy to woodworking and beyond. In fact, it was the Oberurseler Werkstätten that built the FIS booths used at Applefest and Worldfest.
Liza Kamstra and Kerstin Smith of the Athletics and Activities Team spearheaded the effort with Yvonne Sarasty-Rodriguez, the head of the woodworking department of the Oberurseler Werkstätten. Ms. Sarasty-Rodriguez was welcoming to our request and an expert in helping determine what would best suit our needs. She suggested that the best material would be beech wood and then had her team provide us with several prototypes. It did not take long to agree on the final design and start the production process for 181 medals for the 2021/2022 school year.
Athletics and Activities Team members, Kerstin Smith (top left) and Liza Kamstra (top right) display the
new medals, which Design Technology Technician
Zach Woodburn engraves by laser in the FIS DT Lab (bottom)
The first local, sustainable medals were delivered in October and looked even better than expected. The next step in the process was engraving which, again, was previously done out of house. Fortunately an engraving champion was easy to find in Zach Woodburn of the FIS Design Technology Department, who readily agreed to do engraving in house. The last step of the process was adding ribbons to the medals so that recipients can proudly wear and display them. The Athletics team will complete this final assembly process by fitting each medal with a natural cotton ribbon material, and the new medals will make their debut during the 2021 Fall Sports Awards celebration.
We are proud to be able to partner with the Oberurseler Werkstätten to provide a sustainable option and support a great organization. Those looking for quality handcrafted gift items can visit an Oberurseler Werkstätten store as they sell over 1,500 items made in one of their workshops or from a like organization. Stores are located at: Oberurseler Str. 81 in Oberursel or at Schawellsche im Hessenpark, Laubweg 1, Neu-Anspach. Please visit https://www.o- for more information
Martha Boston-Majetic FIS Activities Director
  November 2021 FIS World 5

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