I cannot believe it has been a week since we had Jay’s First Annual Life Skills Camp (www.JayRichardson98.com). During the last six weeks, I spent an average of 10 hours a day with all the details involved. It was worth every hour of phone calling, internet researching, coordinating and meeting. One young man walked up to me and said he just wished it could have lasted longer. Who knew? I was concerned that high school boys would not want to spend all day in workshops where they learned etiquette and social graces; money management, public speaking, job skills, goal setting and strategies for keeping on the right side of the law. These
were boys who were use to being outside running, jumping, conditioning and playing all sorts of games. There were no video games, televisions, or internet access. What I witnessed were boys sitting at the edge of their seats taking it all in. They were mesmerized by strategies on how to treat women with respect, how to respect themselves, how to create a plan “A” and “B” and stories of real life professional athletes and their everyday struggles to compete in the world of athletics.
When I came up with the idea for the camp, lots of people liked the idea but were concerned that today’s young people would not sit still for a day and a half to take it all in. We asked each young man to write a paragraph of what they liked most about the camp and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that they really appreciated etiquette lessons and were grateful for advice on how to prepare for job interviews.
Girls – Get Ready for Camp in 2011!
I started wondering what would happen if we expected more of our children and allowed them to experience more things that made them think on a higher level. I could hardly sleep after the camp and have already begun to plan for more workshops and the inclusion of track for female athletes next year. I was overwhelmed with how many people showed up to volunteer. On short notice, people came and shared valuable information. Others came and decorated the facility, and still others donated lots of great gifts to make the experience special for the young men. One thing that still makes me sad is hearing parents tell me that they couldn’t convince their children (minor children) to attend. Some told me they realized there was so much great information that that their child needed but they couldn’t talk their children into going. My mom never gave me options to do things that she thought was good for me and I am convinced that is what made the difference in me reaching for higher goals. Many times I have sent my pouting son to something they didn’t want to attend and witness their smiling face afterward telling me how great the experience was.
Parents, let’s raise the bar and insist that our children get everything that life has to offer that is in our reach to provide. I was in tears just watching young men listening intently and not texting at the same time. We must challenge our children so that they can realize all the wonderful potential that is just waiting to be used.
I challenge you to push your child to do one thing out of their comfort zone this summer. Play an old fashion board game, take them to a play, have them journal for a month, go for a hike, or help them to develop goals for the coming school year. The list of possibilities is endless. We want our athletes to know that there is more to sports than the game. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens. I would love to hear from you about what you discover. Don’t be afraid to raise the bar!