Standing Atop the Medal Podium with Courage, Confidence, and Character



While everyone knows that Michael Phelps has 28 medals and is the most decorated Olympian of all time, you may not know that our council also has a decorated swimmer in our Girl Scout family. Allison VanHoesen qualified and competed in the Trisomy Games this summer.

We brought you Allison’s very special story back in February while she was still training at the Blue Springs YMCA. For Allison, The Trisomy Games are her Olympics and the competition to be in if you have Down Syndrome.


Allison, her Coach, Julie and Mother, Kindra all headed to Florence, Italy last month for Allison’s first international competition. Their trip got a bit of a rocky start when one of their domestic flights was cancelled, causing them to miss their connecting flight overseas and the airline subsequently cancelling their return tickets home. You may have seen the story on FOX4.

While blissfully unaware that she was essentially stranded in Italy, Allison swam her heart out.

Just like any other Mom, Kindra just wants to see her daughter have fun. “When we decided to go my hope was that she wouldn’t come in last.  After the first day it was apparent that she has a lot of potential to do very well internationally.”

While winning medals is exciting, Allison is more interested in competing with herself. She is always trying to break her personal records. While at the Trisomy Games, she did just that – breaking her 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke records.

“To see her go compete against other women twice her age (or more) and do well was amazing.  She finished 12th in the world for the 50m backstroke and 13th in the 100m backstroke,” Kindra said.


Thanks to FOX4 Problem Solvers and Expedia, the three ladies were able to make it back to the states. This was an experience of a lifetime for Allison, Julie and Kindra. A high-stress experience for the adults, but one that Allison blissfully swam through. She is coming home with new personal records, silver and bronze medal and with a new appetite for Italian food – especially gelato.

Now home, Allison has been watching the Olympics just like the rest of the nation, paying special attention to Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin! She’ll start swimming again in September with her eyes on the next world championships in Truro Nova Scotia in July 2018. Allison will have to work to qualify for the Trisomy Games again, but we know that won’t be a problem for her!


Leave your congratulatory messages for Allison in the comments below!



One thought on “Standing Atop the Medal Podium with Courage, Confidence, and Character

  • August 25, 2016 at 8:33 am

    This is so cool, Allison. Way to go. How great to see one of our own Blue Springs kids competing and doing so well internationally. Proud of you!


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