Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher
SHAPE America Announces 50 Million Strong by 2029
Today is your day,
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
(Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
At the recent SHAPE America National Convention in Seattle, President Dolly Lambdin made a historical announcement. During Wednesday's opening General Session following an opening message from First Lady Michelle Obama, Dolly informed the audience of SHAPE America's new statement of purpose.
This fall, students starting preschool will graduate as seniors in 2029. SHAPE America is committing to ensuring every single student regardless of ability will by then be physically active and healthy. Clearly an ambitious and somewhat daunting goal, the 50 million strong by 2029 statement was reminiscent of President John Kennedy's 1961 vision to put a man on the moon within a decade, and return him safely back to earth. And similar to Kennedy's moonshot vision, SHAPE America plans to succeed.
Of course, it's not going to be easy. And it's going to take each and every one of us to play a role for us to succeed. But imagine the potential impact on the health and physical education teaching professions! Never before has there been so much public interest in getting kids to be more physically active and countering worsening obesity. Never before have there been so many physical activity-promoting groups anxious to get kids moving. But as Dr. Seuss would advise us, today is our day. No one is better prepared to get America's youth physically active and healthy than the nation's health and physical education teachers. All that needs to happen is for us to accept the challenge. Or as another visionary American President would more eloquently tell us, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
There will be doubters but that's okay. Let them doubt. But let's not let the pessimists stop the rest of us from trying, because eventually they will come around. This can be a transformational moment in our professional lives. Imagine the respect we will earn if we not only contribute to getting kids more active and healthy - which we already do - but lead the change movement within our schools. Transforming the lives of 50 million public school students is mind-boggling. So let's think about it differently. How about one student, one class, one school at a time. This is doable and all that remains is to repeat it throughout the country.
Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead famously urged, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." She was talking to us. America's approximately 200,000 health and physical educators can truly change student lives. We have the skills, knowledge, and opportunity to help young people value being physically active and healthy. We alone other than their parents, are present in the lives of most students for 14 of the most significant influential and developmental years of their lives.
During the convention SHAPE solicited input from attendees. Member input will help SHAPE America to plan the altered course needed for our professions to succeed. Over the next few months you can anticipate a rollout of information, suggestions, requests for feedback, and ultimately a practical plan to achieve our newly defined purpose. But there's no need to wait. In her welcoming address to the Seattle Convention, Michelle Obama challenged the audience to "Give me five." She urged us to pledge to do five new things to support Let's Move Active Schools, the program she created that has been widely supported by America's health and physical education teachers. My suggestion is to do the same and pledge to do five things over the next few months to help us achieve 50 Million Strong by 2029.
How can you contribute? All of us regardless of where we work can start today. I'm doing it here! It doesn't matter whether you work in schools, colleges, or universities. It doesn't matter whether you work with infants, children, youth, or young adults. You can do something today to get somebody else moving towards better health. It doesn't have to be complicated or fancy. It just has to be something. And eventually all these somethings will gather momentum and become a change movement.
As many of you know, at the Seattle SHAPE America National Convention I also took over from Dolly as this year's president. What you may have missed is one of the presentations by someone called Kevin Carroll (worth checking out online) who talked about his CEO - Chief Encouragement Officer. Well, for the next year that's me. And I can assure you I am going to do everything I can to support this change. Please join me because there are some exciting places we can go if we all stick together.
Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher
SHAPE America President