Mar 052013

English: Junior Achievement Logo


“Thank you for the OUTSTANDING oration you provided for our “Spirit of Achievement” celebration.

Your talk on the value and benefits of supporting Junior Achievement in the community and its connection to “What Kids Need to Succeed” was brilliantly crafted and extremely well received by our audience.

Public speaking is a gift, and the craft of putting this together with something that makes an impact and people wish to hear is unfortunately a rare commodity.  Your address, at the Spirit of Achievement Celebration, was truly one of those rare instances.  I have received so many positive comments on your speech and how it demonstrated your enthusiasm and belief in JA.

While we have been friends for several years, I truly had no idea that you had the presentation skills that could bring an audience to such an uproar.  Your speech was witty and honest, thought-provoking and enthusiastic and, all-in-all, I really loved it because everyone in the room could tell it came form your heart.

Thank you again, I hope to have you involved with JA for a long time to come and look forward to hearing you speak in the future.


Most sincerely,

Jacques K. deVillier

President,  Junior Achievement of W. Massachusetts

Sep 202011
Child, Youth and School Services bring back ta...

Image by familymwr via Flickr

Are organized youth sports good for kids?

I’m struck by the contrast between  a culture that seems to value athletic success above all other types vs.  the epidemic  levels of obesity.  While both parents and kids can be easily  ‘swept away’ by dreams of big pro contracts I find myself wondering what impact this thinking might have on less-gifted athletes?

Are we inadvertently telling the athletes without “star quality” that they should just graba pizza and a a soda and take a seat on the sidelines?

Despite our sometimes skewed focus, I still believe the rewards of youth sports can certainly outweigh the risks — as long as the adults play nicely.

What are some of the benefits?

First, and probably far too obvious, is the fact that team sports can be a lot of fun. And with the right coaching kids can practice the teamwork, cooperation and mutual-support skills they need in… pretty much everywhere.

Then there’s all the discipline: not just showing up for practice on time but voluntarily accepting the leadership and authority of a team… and a league.

They’re part of something bigger than themselves and learn to face challenges together… to place team goals ahead of personal glory.

And when things don’t go their way?  You can have some super discussions about values, fairness and respect.  When they get benched (I hope) for some of the same behaviors they see by the professional athletes they admire so much?  Talk about the “hows” and “whys” of picking people to look up to… and maybe about the example they are setting for younger kids.

And, whether you and your kids agree or disagree with the coach, you can have some super discussion about values, respect and, of course, both the positive and negative role modeling by professional athletes.  (And kids’ opportunities to set examples for those younger than they are.)

Hmmm…  an opportunity to make regular exercise a part of their lives…. learning to get along with others…  and cool uniforms.

What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of involving kids in organized sports?