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Our 2-week Los Angeles BOSS™ summer camp was held at the Billy Blanks Youth Activity Center on the campus of Crenshaw Christian Center in South Central Los Angeles. We presented an amazing 2-week STEM based academic, leadership and personal development experience for 50 student athletes, most in middle-school and a group which has been with us from the start and headed to high school in the fall.
We started each day with “Jump Start”, an hour of agility, quickness and speed training exercises led by Wayne Slappy of S.H.O.T.T.S Basketball Skills Academy. Our mornings also included a STEM curriculum and our annual “Math Madness” competition, a spirited math problem solving competition pairing student-athletes on teams in a single elimination tournament akin to the NCAA’s March Madness basketball championship series. The team of Dylan Fitzpatrick and Daijah Washington, representing the Ohio State University, won the 2-week long tournament.
Morning STEM sessions focused on helping our student athletes learn and use programming language(s) and related tools, as well as collaboration tools, computing devices and network environments. The 5 main strands of our curriculum included a focus on computational thinking, collaboration, computing practice, computers and communication devices, as well as community, global and ethical impacts. During assembly, students had the opportunity to practice real-life problem solving skills by deliberating with their peers on what focus should be given to the day. The final goal was to have students experience the paradigms of team-oriented design that are prevalent in the computing field today: rapid prototyping and collaborative development.
An amazing lineup of subject matter experts including Dr. Clarence M. Lee , Chris Bryant, noted Hollywood attorney Darrell Miller, Olympic medalists and world record holders Willie Gault and Mike Powell and Richard Downer shared their insight and wisdom on a host of subjects including: character building/personal pathway, civic responsibility/service, decision science, defeating the label, developing a winning attitude, effective leadership, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, fitness and nutrition, power choices, power and dangers of social media, purpose focused living, sport science and winning against the odds.
Field trips included return trips to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles courtesy of AEG Chief Administrative Officer Kevin McDowell, a return trip to Applied Minds, a Willy Wonka chocolate factory for geek lovers, and an evening with Los Angeles Dodgers’ taking in their game against the Philadelphia Phillies. We will continue the BOSS “process” with our Los Angeles BOSS™ students with school year activities that will include mentoring, real world experiences and opportunities for advocacy among the students and their non-athlete peers.