Astronaut Inspires El Salvadoran Youth to Dream Big and Work Hard

ONETEAM Envoys -  As the game clock buzzer sounded, Steve Swanson knew that he wasn’t going to state championships.  Instead the Steamboat Springs, Colorado high school senior would be joining his teammates in turning in their basketball uniforms to coach Kelly Meeks and calling it a session - the last of his high school varsity sports career.   

It would be nearly 20 years before Swanson, would find himself on another team - as a member of NASA’s Astronaut program. 

Over the span of his high school years, athletics were a huge driving force in keeping Steve  focused on studies.   As a starter on the small town’s football and basketball teams he constantly balanced family, studies and sport.  

“It wasn’t just my parents that kept me on track, I had coach Meeks, who fully expected me to excel both on and off the court,” recalls Astronaut Swanson, who along with Mike Lane and Rob Powers, volunteer for the nonprofit American300 and it’s ONETEAM program. 

The group is headed to El Salvador, this week, a trip that Powers, makes nearly every other month with special guests in support of the nonprofits youth development project there. On this trip, the team will be spending time with young student athletes from two rural communities that represent the programs youth project. 

“If someone told me that our young players would be spending time with Olympic champions, US National team coaches and medical physicians, a NFL Super Bowl Champion and NASA Astronaut all in the span of our first 7 months of programming I would have just laughed, but that is exactly what ONETEAM Envoys done,” says Felipe Flores, manager of ESA’s Youth Rugby Program.  Flores added, “The ONETEAM guests all bring personal stories of how hard can  turn dreams into reality, they also show our players that a group of Americans care a lot about them, which for these rural kids means more then words can describe.” 

Whether in sports, school or the community, Swanson like all the ONETEAM guests show that being on a well run, disciplined team goes a long way in helping achieve individual goals in life. 


For the young rugby players that he’ll be spending time with this week the message is simple: work hard, dream big and you might just yourself living amongst the stars someday. 

For more about American300's ONETEAM Envoys programming visit: www.oneteamenvoys.org 

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