We’ve recently posted some great news articles on our Facebook page from around the country about communities that inject valuable character education into the local sports scenes.  The Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy Leadership and Character Development Camp in Vero Beach, Florida emphasizes character education at their summer camp.  Midnight Basketball in Taylor, Texas is more informal, yet is a well-known gathering place for teens to play in a pick-up game at night and benefit from the wisdom and values shared by local mentors and leaders. 

On a similar note, this year’s Promising Practices winners include schools like Gallup Hill Elementary in Ledyard Connecticut and South Grafton Elementary in South Grafton, Massachusetts whose P.E. teachers have helped to transform the recess period into constructive game time using character education and organized athletic activity. Their actions have greatly diminished playground shenanigans and bullying and encouraged cooperative play and teamwork.

All of these actions are the result of somebody seeing a need and doing something about it. Somebody took a few extra steps out there on the court, the field, and the playground and made a big difference.  We can’t measure how deeply these extra steps might impact a young kid somewhere.  These people might not ever know. 

So often, as teachers and mentors, we impact our students in tremendous ways that we don’t ever hear about; we hope that what we’re doing is making a difference somewhere to someone, and we keep on going.  Thurgood Marshall captured the sentiment so well when he wrote “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.  We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

Kudos to these teachers and community individuals who have taken a few extra steps, bent down, and helped pull up some bootstraps.  What’s going on around your own playgrounds, playing fields, and sport courts this summer? Let us know.