Summary: Letters of Support for

* Pittsburgh Public Schools
* Citiparks Big Leagues & Rec Center Director at West Penn

* Venture Outdoors
* First Tee of Pittsburgh
* City of Play
 Pittsburgh Ultimate

* JCC Pittsburgh
* Pittsburgh Project
* Sarah Heinz House
* South Side Presbyterian Church
 Thelma Lovette YMCA
 Hosanna House

* Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation
* Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center

* AutoCoach
* American Water Polo
* TeamUnify
* Spider Learning
* Kay Atman, educator
* Urban Media Today
 Pittsburgh Action Against Rape with its Coaching Boys Into Men program.

* LiveCode
* LiveCode Education Outreach
* Claire & Marc Siskin, educators and LiveCode programmers in Pittsburgh (no link)
* PT-Helper App Author, Fred Gohh


Team for


Play.cloh in quarters


Hamstring Stretch in Homewood with Water Polo Players

This mission and LRNG play well together

Both LRNG and aim to connect communities around shared goals. The over-arching goal is playing well with others. LRNG and play well together.

The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. The “pillars” are called “quarters.” Quarter One is Present. Quarter Two is Play. Quarter Three is Technology. Quarter Four is Development. Plenty of common ground exists.

The alignment of the pillars and quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

LRNG Pillar #

Pillar Name

Quarter #


Quarter Name

Similarities for both LRNG & Play.CLOH


Craft Experiences


Play &
Get out,  Do things. Make experiences. Have fun.

Focus on passions of: sports, recreation, aquatics, outdoors, fitness.
Learners choose. Teamwork. Sportsmanship.


Gather Communities



Call to orientations.

Watch party, Not Just A Game (movie)

Provide opportunities to learn through relationships, introductions, orientation. Calls to meaningful interactions with diverse community of mentors and experts. Not Just a Game (film). Challenge youth to engage with code of conduct.
Build their own identity and wiki page.


Build the World



Use modern Tech for self-expression. Publish. Solve real world problems. Revise and improve code.


Unlock Opportunities



Experiences move to new opportunities. Connect to future career and learning paths. Imagine bigger concept maps of achievements.
Goal setting. Learn volition. College recruiting. On to lifeguards, instructors and Rookie Coaches Badges efforts consider “Why” first. “How” is informed by “Why.” The method and activities should be informed by the purpose.

The “Why” of the Tech Captains badges is obvious as dozens of high school students are hired and tossed into service as coaches, instructors, lifeguards and camp leaders for Swim & Water Polo Camps. In 2015, 40+ employees coached more than 200 students at 10 different pools. All workers are not equal contributors.


The best employees have been high school swimmers on the Obama varsity swim team. Other athletes, but not full-time swimmers, have been great workers too. Of course the varsity swimmers know the routines, expectations and drills of the head coach. Having played the games and understanding the rules matters. They know the communication style of the boss, can read emails and be responsible to their duties. The most valuable employees have been the ones with a prior relationships with the program leader, their fellow workers and the activities. The great days at camp come when varsity swimmers get in situations to perform and lead the younger students who are often in grades 3 to 7.

The worst employees can sometimes present more trouble than the worst campers. Setting bad examples from older kids and adults is the worst. This is more of a fear than reality, but no responsible program leader wants to be in charge of an squad of youngsters without a few capable hands with a positive influence.

Pittsburgh has a proven demand and the available facilities to train more than 2,000 youngsters in the summers. This All-City Sports Camp is an expansion of Swim & Water Polo Camp that includes other settings, sports and activities as assembled in the network of The city kids need more summer-time enrichment that isn’t in the classrooms and includes kids who might have proficient standardized test scores. Those Summer Dreamers invites only goes to disadvantaged kids with below basic test scores. Furthermore, Summer Dreamers occupies only three school sites, down from 12 in its earlier years.

The sticking points for growing sustainable programs capable of reaching thousands of kids are staff limitations and a lack of political will by certain individuals in high positions. The awarding of educational grants can help to sway the political will among some who prefer vacation days.

Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.
Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.

These staff limitations are skill limitations. With the Learn & Earn program, Pittsburgh has the employees. The youth job program employs 2,000 kids ages 14 to 21. The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center manages more the 125 summer workers. The people are present. But, their on-the-job performances as capable staffers and sports coaches for youngsters gives doubt. Most of the kids at age 16 can’t swim themselves. So, it is not fair to expect them to teach swimming to 10 year old campers.

Our swimmers can swim and they do a great job teaching swimming. But, they are in the minority. Throughout the school year, about 40 kids are involved in the varsity swim teams, boys and girls. However, a staff of 100+ would be needed to lead campers by the thousands.

The pathway to to the Tech Captains badges can develop the skills, disposition and attitudes among the high school athletes so that they can later be productive members of a camp staff and help guide younger students. and the Tech Captains badge helps to gear up a large, robust, staff of youngsters that can one day be a positive influence for the proposed All-City Sports Camp. Getting this credential can unlock the opportunities of teaching, coaching and leading others. This isn’t the only game in town. Other staff positions are already being recruited for, filled and experienced throughout the community. Citiparks, the YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Hosanna House, Pittsburgh Ultimate, Venture Outdoors, Big Leagues, First Tee of Pittsburgh and our Swim & Water Polo Camp hire camp instructors. The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and the NLA hires Reading Warriors.

Recruiting deks

In 2017 and beyond, it would be great if the individuals who have LRNG digital badges could take a merit-based bypass of the job lottery. Not all the kids get hired with the city’s youth job program called Learn & Earn. Those with digital badges should get hired first. That way, digital badges would unlock opportunities.

Every youngster in Pittsburgh could learn to swim and be a part of the sportsmanship and teamwork experiences of an All City Sports Camp after 400 participants have been trained in the process of playing well with others in the quest for Tech Captain digital badges. But there is more. Existing camp experiences are already offered in the community by many of the supporting agencies and institutions within the network. Those camps hire high school students. Every camp can benefit with more enhanced staff preparations with year-round XPs.

The Tech Captains digital badges help to tighten the circle of life. Consider the growth of a youngster who is a camper at age 10 and then becomes a motivated learner at age 13 and grows into a valued junior instructor in a camp at age 15 to then hooks up in a camp-coaching role at age 17.

For the high school students, fitting in the time for training, playing, competing,

Coach and camper
Coach and camper.

studying, resting, planning, socializing, learning, and instructing other youngsters is demanding work that can be made somewhat less burdensome with the hope of a pathway charted to meaningful badges from

Many of the young adults at age 19 are doing college internships.

The connected learning approach prioritizes experience over knowledge transfer, formation over facts. It centralizes the importance of community connections, real-world relevancy and digital technologies. The approach bridges connections between communities, content, and practitioners. When successful, it brings together learner’s passions, people, and paths.

Fred Gohh, cycling coach and founder of Team Citius, offers a rookie athlete some instructions at the Citiparks' Oval on Washington Blvd.

Lifestyle Learning

The CEO of Collective Shift, Connie Yowell, the company formed to launch, wants to transform learning into a lifestyle.


Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the grant proposals of spring 2016. Swimming, water polo, golf, kayaking and ultimate are certainly lifestyle sports. These activities have a lot going on, plenty of “mojo,” much to emulate.

As we work together to make learning a lifestyle, let’s work within the lifestyle sports and insure that learning is included there, in obvious ways, so that plenty of others can join, follow-along, and embrace this lifestyle of learning. To create lifelong learning, use recreation.

Giving young people better tools in their preparation for life get universal agreement here. A robust suite of additional enrichment activities and experiences for better preparing youngsters is needed and welcomed.

Sadly, too many of the opportunities provided for inter-city kids are frail. Often, the institutional hurdles are high and frequent. Our swim team can’t have practices on Saturdays and Sundays. Go figure. The older kids can’t be fooled. Perpetual defeat is a buzz kill.

Let’s support the drive and desire for being dedicated, determined and disciplined. Athletes have those passions, especially when they’re improving, having fun and a sense of fairness comes within their competitive landscapes. Our kids should feel the support and then they rise to meet the challenges. We can compete with anyone, anywhere. We can help you become the best you can be and that means that some will be the best in the world. For everyone on the team in the community, that makes life exciting. That’s the fun lifestyle that trains minds and bodies.

High school kids who come to understand and trust the vision of Creating Literate Olympians Here can make it so. The mind leads and the body follows. They go together. The mind never leaves the body. The learning never stops. unifies mind and body and prevents the divorce between the two.


Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at champions lifelong learning for those who want to life a long life. Play unifies the young and not-so-young and prevents the divorce among the age groups. It is important to engage the kids, and everyone else.

Plenty of opportunities are within these plans that speak directly to the circle of life. In Pittsburgh, our co-ed masters water polo team generally beats the best high school boys team. It was an epic moral victory and lots of fun watching the high school boys tie the masters squad at the 2016 CMU tournament.

Masters squad at summer practice in Mt. Washington’s Citiparks Ream Pool, with a mix of ages. efforts make spaces and interesting challenges so that the seasoned 50-year-olds get to buck up with the youngsters in their prime in underwater hockey, speed golf, aquatic SKWIM, ultimate frisbee, pull-ups, goal-setting, sport-first-aid, computer animation and app development. Learning lifetime-and-lifestyle lessons goes beyond age 24. Health and wellness is not a guarantee for many in communities where violence, drug use and poverty are pervasive.

Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.
Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.

Some XPs, playlists, pathways and badges within are tagged #Lifelong_LRNG_Lifestyle when suited for inter-generational settings.

The Introduction’s “home base” can’t be confused with “home plate” nor “base camp.”


Our baseball friends have a different concept of being “home.” In baseball, one must summon sizable amounts of courage to step-up-to-the-plate at home. Getting to home as a base runner signals a long-trip around the diamond’s three other bases. Regardless of the illustration and baseball’s vocabulary, makes loud calls for great teams of people to step out of their comfort zones, to be present elsewhere, to be prepared by thinking ahead and to reflect, log and digitize their insights along their ways. Rinse and repeat.


Question: What did you do as a kid?
Answer: “Our life centered around playing ball.”

Our life centered around playing ball.

We played basketball. … We played football. We played softball. And, I’ll tell you something. This is interesting. In those days, and I think it was a good thing, kids played it (sports) without adult supervision. So we made up our own games. And we worked things things out ourselves. I learned a lot about democracy from the school yards…. It was a great experience.

This is less of a candidate endorsement but rather it is a resounding endorsement of the developmental stages when kid’s learn about playing well with others.


Program Coordinator – BIG League Sports, sends letter of support for

To: Sprout Fund

Dear Grant Administrators:

As a City of Pittsburgh employee, I have worked as a  Rec. Center Director and a Program Coordinator for the CitiParks BIG League Program for 16 years. During these many years of service, I have come to know Mr. Mark Rauterkus in various roles throughout both my employment and personally in my community.  I have a great deal of respect for his vision and forward thinking and his ability to work tirelessly for the youth of the City of Pittsburgh.

I want to express my sincere hope that you look upon the application of in the most favorable ways and grant the support to these efforts. The city’s youth need more programs and this is an original approach that puts some extra academic push behind the sports, teams, coaches, players and communities we serve. In my professional opinion I believe it is essential moving forward using technology that kids are already very familiar with.

It is wonderful to stand among a number of other great community institutions in this effort. Our recreation centers and our programs with BIG League are sure to welcome the extra attention and participation from high school aged citizens of Pittsburgh.

BIG League offers a number of sports opportunities such as one day competitions, Junior Pirates, baseball, softball, soccer and futsal to name a few. The program services more than 4,000 kids under 18 every year. I can tell you our kids would love to have extra help with technology and other enrichment experiences that this program is going to provide.

Moving forward we expect to start running sports academies at West Penn Recreation Center and expand programming to utilize the fitness rooms we now have at our disposal. One idea is a Pull Your Own Weight competition that I could see this program being a huge part of the experience. Anything extra we can offer to get youth involved in not only individual but group activities gives us an advantage and makes us more appealing to kids that have a hundred other thing to pull their attention away.  We find ourselves in a day and age where technology has taken over our lives. We need to find a way to recognize that usage and make it something that is integrated into our programming. Resources are depleting daily and we are not able to keep up with the simple needs let alone introduce a new and exciting attraction to inner city kids. I believe having this to offer would put us over the edge and really make us stand out in a city where champs are made. Having this will help us make more champs.

I thank you for your time and serious consideration in this matter.

Michelle L. AulProgram Coordinator – BIG League Sports

Acting Center Director – West Penn Recreation Center

Pull Your Own Weight, a pending XP in the pathway to a digital badge.

One Northside, blast from the past

We love the North Side!

Home to Sarah Heinz House.

Home to Oliver High School.

Home to the Sue Murray Swim Pool, a Citiparks facility.

Home to the Pittsburgh Project on Charles Street, with its swim pool.

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ King, a 2016 Summer Dreamers site, sadly without Swim & Water Polo, and Pittsburgh Allegheny School, a school with an indoor swim pool.

Lake Elizabeth near the National Aviary.

Home to the PNC Park, Heinz Field, River Rescue, the Pittsburgh Triathlon, Three Rivers Rowing and a few bike lanes too!


Concept Maps about what’s what and connected learning

These are from the past. Much of what is suggested still is valid. But, there are some mistakes and updates and debate is welcomed.
Oly-pen1One of the most basic questions is, what is CLOH can stand for a number of different themes.

Creating Literate Olympians Here works in the sports realm. Once Pittsburgh, or other places, took aim at creating literate Olympians, then we’d be investing in our youth and telling them that they can compete with the world right here, at home.

The four values that resonate well: Caring, Loving, Open, Honest can be put together to make another meaning for the name. You gotta care. We care. It is a sad day when we hear, “I don’t care.” Ugh. To be open and honest is not so easy.




CLOH - general1Hope you are not confused yet as the good stuff is still to come.

Sports are games of time, space and relationships. That’s what a friend and author, Kevin DeForrest taught me.


This sports concept map below is not one that I designed. It is from the C-Map archives. All sports are not the same, of course. Some are much better than others. But, different strokes for different folks.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Sports-include (1)

This is more than 10-years old. It showed a view of aquatics. Spray parks are still a bad joke and an important update in this map is SKWIM. It needs to be inserted with a re-make.


Teams are places for connected learning to occur. And, a team is a focus of teamwork and sportsmanship.


Much of our energy into teams and sports happens in school-based sports, up to the age of 18 or so. Sadly, not much happens with sports and teams for people older than high school. That needs to change. Masters sports, masters teams, and adult leagues are welcome in our landscape. Play is too!



I used the graphic above to talk about PPS H2O in a position paper released after Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent, Doctor Linda Lane, floated the idea of fewer school sports to save some money. We don’t need fewer sports. We need better sports. We need better opportunities. Thankfully, that proposal was avoided.


The “City League” and the “WPIAL” have not always been on the same field. PPS Athletic Reform came, for a while, in Pittsburgh and some of our teams in some of the city schools got to join the WPIAL. The Obama Varsity Swim Team won its first WPIAL Section Title in its first year in the WPIAL Class AA in 2013. That year the squad had 13 seniors. In 2016, an Obama Boy Varsity Swimmer, Sead Niksic, grade 10, won the 100 fly in the WPIAL Championships, giving the city its first ever “gold medalist” in the WPIAL. There have been flashes of sports glory in our city in various schools and teams throughout the years. But, all has not been rosy.

Canoe Water Polo - Intergenerational

Always something to look forward to. With Venture Outdoors on our team, we have high hopes.

Literacy efforts include being able to write on a wiki.



Insights into Digital Badges/Goals

One maturational development feature of the transition from childhood to adulthood is the emergence of the capacity to perform executive functions (McCloskey, 2009, 2012). The executive functions are found in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The importance of the work of the executive function in the process of maturational development cannot be overstated. A key factor in the success of an individual’s maturing capacity for self-regulation can be found in the individual’s ability to: 1) set goals, 2) make plans, 3) “make it happen” and, 4) finish what he/she starts.

Digital Badges/Goals is a program for training participants in the development of skills and attitudes of goal orientation and self-regulation. Although the processes are being developed concurrently, it is through the simultaneous interaction of goal setting and self-regulation that the commitment to “do the work” occurs. Without this commitment to invest their personal energy in the learning, practicing and internalizing of what is being learned, the participants’ adherence to the meaning of the learning (the choice to adhere to a health-promoting lifestyle after the training program is over) will be only perfunctory.

To flourish and enjoy success within today’s programs and schools, we must teach students the basic skills and attitudes associated with intentional goal setting and purposeful self-regulation. Both goal setting and purposeful self-regulation can help students to maximize their potential, and this is an element in the intervention that ensures that the participants become fit in body, mind and heart.

Goal orientation and self-regulation are two key factors in the successful achievement of each individual’s healthy eating and physical activity goals. But, learning the content and having the knowledge is not enough. More importantly, the desire is for our youngsters (digital badge earners / water polo players / Jedi-like Lifeguards) to choose to live in more healthy ways. Without emotional coherence, also know as commitment, that comes from the integration of goal orientation and self-regulation, students stumble. This type of positive integration can be observed in each individual’s choices and behaviors. These factors support the goals of the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. and the Digital Badges/Goals give program leaders in schools an enriched repertoire for teaching specific skills related to self-regulation. This comes with a scaffolding of the maturation process when needed. By challenging students to set goals within a carefully tailored, individualized, self-care-oriented instructional program, students have the opportunity to develop the capacity to set goals, make plans and assume personal responsibility for their own behavior (McClelland, 1985).

Kay Atman, Ph.D., the goals coach, can serve as a part-time employee during the implementation of ths proposal, devoted much of her career’s work in the field of education on goal-setting, striving and volition topics. She developed, researched, validated and published a clinical evaluation tool that is central to the Digital Badges/Goals mission, goal orientation. (Goal Orientation Index, 1985. Pittsburgh, PA: Curriculum Innovators & Implementers, Inc.) Also see:

In the process of completing the activities of the Digital Badges/Goals, the participants learn about goal-setting and self-regulation skills.

Goals/Level 1: Set goals and assess what the participants have “going for them” as well as a potential hazards that may interfere with their progress toward success. They set goals, visualize, make a plan, make it happen and finish.

Goals_Level_2Goals/Level 2: Participants name a four member support team, contact them and enlist their encouragement and help with accountability.

Goals/Level 3: Participants add systematic self-monitoring of progress toward their goal-pursuit regimen. For example, this might include length of practice, number of practices and increasing levels of difficulty with practice routines.

Goals/Level 4: Participants identify and assess areas of stress in goal-routine regimens and design corrective measures to alleviate problems. The purpose is to strengthen participants’ capacity for self-evaluation, self-monitoring and self-regulation.Goals_Level_4

Goals/Level 5: Participants take a self-assessment instrument, Plan and Reflect for Success. It helps improve one’s capacity for goal accomplishment. Advanced self-assessment skills and reflecting on elements of personal performance is a significant factor in the development of self-care agency, the willingness to take an active role in one’s personal well-being. (Atman, 2015)

Goals/Level 6: Called Goals/Master, the last digital badge in the series, reinforces intentional agency and the mentor’s model. Participants are trained in mentoring skills (The Mentor’s Model: Atman, 1992) and are then able to facilitate the development of goal-orientation and self-regulation skills for an aspiring goal-setter. Mentoring skills include an understanding of the processes of striving and volition in the motivational make-up of an individual. The understanding includes the concept of Intentional Agency (Atman, 2015), a key factor in an individual’s commitment to long-term goal accomplishment.Goals_Masters

At all levels, participants are encouraged to make regular reports to the members of their support teams. They keep track of their progress toward goals with provided charts and in an optional smart phone app. Students are mentored throughout the process by coaches involved in this project who have been trained in the processes of goal orientation and self-regulation. (Atman, 1987)

The process of teaching goal orientation and self-regulation skills to the participants in this project parallels the set of personal skills found in the concept, Self-Care Agency, a well-known concept found in the field of health-care. Constructs from the Goal Orientation Index (Atman, 1985), used in this project as the model to frame the goal-related activities in the Digital Badges/Goals, have been used to predict significant attributes of Self-Care Agency. (Atman, 2015)

Numerous studies have been undertaken related to self-care agency. (Kearney and Fleischer, 1979; Hanson and Bickel, 1985; Riesch and Hauck, 1988; McBride, 1991; Cutler, 2003; Sousa, Hartman, Miller and Carroll, 2008; Baker and Denyes, 2008; Skidmore, et al., 2010; DeVito Dabbs and Song, 2013).

Evidence-based research in 2015 supports this project: Goal Orientation and Self-Care Agency, in the journal, Progress in Transplantation, Volume 25, No. 3, pp. 230-242. Kay Atman et al. attempted to predict a patient’s surgical outcomes from their ability to follow-through, or compliance, with post-operative instructions. Data obtained from this study indicated that several characteristics were significant predictors of success. It documented the importance of goal orientation as a predictor of Self-Care Agency.

This intervention concerning health, wellness and academic success ties together inter-generational aquatics activities with a sustained, focused and supportive devotion to personal behaviors, executive functions, goal setting and self-regulation skills. This intervention helps chart a course for youngsters that blends the fun of swimming and water polo with honest introspection. The sequence of the Digital Badges/Goals makes each individual accomplishment more positive and empowering. It can also be used to enhance team performance as its members strive toward common team goals and encourage each other to perform at higher levels.

There are no boundaries for re-use of the Digital Badges/Goals. This method can go viral.

Professionals within the teams, schools, school districts and health departments can monitor progress. Digital badge bestowing records, app downloads, and summary reports can ascertain both the reach and the levels of success for this intervention.

Pittsburgh’s aquatic programming provides a feel-good story worthy of sharing to personnel at other school districts. Professional development sessions for teachers, coaches and school administrators can share the GOI.

Spreading fitness, water polo, SKWIM, and digital badges throughout the nation are missions of this endeavor.

We expect that the real catalyst for commitment to healthy eating and long-term physical activity lies in the pride that participants take in their own performance that is accompanied by an increase in over-all capacity with excellent goal accomplishment. Self regulation is a key ingredient. With the commitment to do the work required, on a continual basis, excellence is within reach. The goal-setting process enables a practical type of reflection on their process of being and becoming.

More can be accomplished with physical activities when one battles in those struggles to obtain experiences based upon energy management with others. Teamwork is something to strive to obtain. Successful journeys include goal setting fun and working together. When students, teachers, coaches and adults work on a goal-setting process together, particularly in the areas of healthy eating and physical activity, Jedi-like advancements can occur.

Recess Rocks!

Unlike Americans, Europeans don’t view recess as a waste of time.Like ATTN: on Facebook.

Posted by ATTN: on Tuesday, March 8, 2016