2017 marked our 4 th year of delivering programming to student-athletes designed to increase the academic performance and life success for youngsters from under-resourced communities and schools who participate in organized sports.
2017 also marked the move of BOSS operations from one room at Challengers Boys & Girls Club to the College of Business on the Long Beach State campus. The college campus setting, the smart classrooms and computer labs, participation by college administration, staff and students, helped us to present an amazing 2-week experience for 75 middle school student-athletes. With a curriculum that includes non- sport specific training, academic enrichment, non-cognitive skills, leadership and personal development and a life skills component, we challenged the boys to move from good to great in all that they do whether it be in sports, in the classroom or at home.
We started each day during our 2-week camp with an hour of non-sport specific training focused on agility, quickness and speed that we call “Jump Start”. Once the boys have worked up a good sweat each day, it was off to the computer lab for 2 hours of computer lab work where the boys learned coding fundamentals, received hands-on instruction on how to read and write basic code, and learned how to build their own games using TouchDevelop.
We also spent an hour or so each day on our “Math Madness” competition, a single elimination tournament of math skills based on the March Madness format. Pairs of boys, representing their favorite college teams, engaged in a spirited, single elimination competition based on solving increasingly more difficult math problems. The team of Kenan Wondercheck and Andrew Pierce, representing Arizona State, are our 2017 Math Madness champions.
The boys enjoyed a hearty lunch each day, courtesy of Buffalo Wild Wings and Chick-fil- A.
Afternoons each day were filled with subject matter expert presentations on topics that included brand & reputation, decision science, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, nutrition, the power and dangers of social media, social responsibility, transforming beliefs and using constructive criticism. A host of business and sports industry professionals (representative list at this link) joined us in engaging the boys in spirited conversations that tested their critical thinking and involved them in the learning process. Afternoons also featured Interactive discussions focused on career exploration, cultural identify, true colors assessments, and team building and leadership exercises.
Mixed in were field trips to Applied Minds, a Willy Wonka chocolate factory for geek lovers; a behind the scenes tour of Dodger Stadium and game courtesy of the Dodgers and Spectrum Sports Net LA; and a visit to Port of Long Beach headquarters and a harbor tour where the boys learned about Port operations, the complexities of maritime goods movement, and how the Port is improving the environment and helping the community thrive.
We begin our multi-year, year-round process with the camp and we presented an amazing 2-week experience that is the beginning of a relationship that will position all our BOSS students to excel academically and ultimately join the ranks of the successful.