“Purposeful Practice” Extolled by Square Dancer Keith Wilson

Keith and Pam Wilson Celebrating Their 40th Anniversary on the Columbia River
Keith and Pam Wilson Celebrating Their 40th Anniversary on the Columbia River

Keith and Pam Wilson have lived in Oakmont for 18 months, having come to Oakmont to be close to their son and grandchildren. Before moving to California, they would drive from Louisville KY to Austin TX to see their son and granddaughter. They followed their son and his growing family, first to Pleasanton and then to Oakmont. It’s still a trek to visit their other child in Denver.
Keith grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has lived in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska and Texas. He and Pam have been married for 40 years and recently celebrated their anniversary by cruising on the Columbia River.
Continuing his career in social work for over 30 years, Keith currently works 3 overnights a week at Stanford Healthcare Emergency Department in Palo Alto. He also provides Mental Health Services via Telehealth on two platforms.
A group of friends in Nebraska invited Keith and Pam to take up square dancing about 40 years ago, but they quit when they became parents. Keith’s own parents also square danced in New Mexico when he was a kid. He says it’s great to be back on the dance floor again and adds that square dancing has been a marvelous way to meet people in Oakmont. They moved to Oakmont at the height of the pandemic, when it was difficult to meet people. They really appreciate the new friendships as well as the fun of dancing.
In his professional career, Keith has worked with athletes and professionals to improve their performances. He describes teaching people about the secret of purposeful practice, “It is virtually impossible to improve one’s skill level without specific and purposeful instruction. Square Dancing utilizes this performance principle at every event. The caller is clearly essential to square dancing as the caller is the instructor for teaching skills. As one progresses in skill acquisition, the caller continually challenges the dancer to put the skills in different sequences. This is the purposeful challenge as square dancers are challenged to be cognitively sharp in order to follow the lead of the caller and be in sync with the other seven dancers in the square…. It is good physical exercise as well as being a cognitive challenge. These are marvelous attributes at any age but especially for the plus 55 community of Oakmont. And of course, the bonus is the social aspect of creating new friendships and having fun. One could say that Square Dancing is the best all around exercise because it starts with purposeful practice.”

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