Category Archives: Rants

Connected Writing Ideas

Students and even coaches are encouraged to write within the Swim & Water Polo program. Open ended questions follow:

How did practice go today?

Was it good? — That’s sorta boring. Why was it decent, or amazing, or not. However today’s practice was for you, try to learn from it. What did you gain? Can you turn a bad practice-frown upside down? Can you capitalize on the momentum of a good workout?

What are some of the things you need to do to guarantee that you’ll have a great practice the next time you are at the pool — or even in the classroom?

What about sleep? Can you put yourself to bed early? Sleep is often the best supplement for your growth and improvement. If you are training hard, you need quality sleep too. Play hard and rest hard.

Do you have a favorite going to bed routine? A favorite pillow? Do you have a favorite blanket? How can you get two extra hours of sleep tonight? With good sleep, you recover more deeply and improve brain functions. You’ll be more focused and attentive in training and boost your immune system.

Talk about water. How about hydration? Can you drink a bunch of water today?

Do not drink the pool water, of course. But, drink from the fountain. Drink at meals. Drink from your own water bottle. Take care of it. Don’t play with it, but treat it as a valued asset to guard and consume. It’s hard to remember to drink an adequate amount of water over the course of the day. Being properly soaked with water, inside and out, makes for a great day.

Performance declines happen when you sweat and body weight drops. Cramps and headaches can be more frequent. And your rate of perceived effort goes up. That means you think your efforts are hard. Don’t make the hard workout feel harder than it has to feel. Hydrate!

Write a goal for your next practice.

Most campers walk into an activity and can only brace themselves for the challenges ahead. You can do more to prepare so you are ready to perform. Don’t just react to everything that comes you way. Be brave getting in. Decide that for yourself. Be attentive to the coaches and instructors and absorb every word they say. Start to listen to them even before they speak. Be ready to catch on what comes next.

Go to practice with a specific goal in mind. The goal doesn’t have to be crazy. Tell yourself to do extra dolphin kicks on push offs the wall. Setting yourself a little goal will give you a sense of ownership and pride in your swimming. Sit down with some paper or onto the web site or tablet and make a training journal note. Write what you are going to accomplish tomorrow.

Tell the world a few things you are grateful for.

As you communicate your ideas about the things in your life you are grateful for, you’ll find that you’re doing one of the best stress-busting techniques ever. Keep perspective. Be grateful.

Writing down a few things you are grateful helps us stay positive.

Pick one piece of self-talk you want to change.

Becoming a mentally tougher is a challenge. Learning how to struggle without quitting. Press on when your heart and chest are telling you to take a break. Use visualization to help remind ourselves what we were saying to ourselves in these battles. What can we do for ourselves to be better for the next competition?

One thing you can do now and write about is to pick a piece of self-talk to use at practice tomorrow.

Controlling your self-talk is one of the biggest steps in developing a tougher, high-performance mindset.

What are some of the things you have said to yourself or others during tough practices in the pool? What negative things went through your mind? Write it out, and do some mental judo to give that negative self-talk a positive tone.

“I’m tired and I don’t feel like I can go faster…”

Vs.

“I’m tired, but so is everyone else. Let’s give the next play an awesome effort and take things from there.”

Write about the future and explain what tomorrow’s great workout can look like.

Visualization and imagination are big concepts that can be used to improve yourself. Just “daydream” about your swimming. Then daydream about tomorrow’s time at the pool. Instead of goofy daydreaming, take control of it.

Spend a few minutes visualizing what you want your stroke to feel like in pool tomorrow. See in your mind’s eye, the top-of-the-water, clean, smooth energy with your arms and legs. Picture your body zooming along the surface.

Go!

Link to input form.

Opportunities and improvements to Pittsburgh’s scholastic sports amounts to a wicked design challenge.

 

Pittsburgh, a sports town, needs to support its citizens, families and athletes in efficient, economical ways so programs and individuals thrive. Improving the city’s recreational landscape, especially for the often neglected sectors of the city, requires the building of the appropriate  political will in these human endeavors. Furthermore, the building and changes must include a suite of collective beliefs in technical aspects.

All in all, the quagmire becomes a design problem with complicated, multi-dimensional aspects that spans age groups, abilities, interests, facilities, institutions, and budgets.

Pittsburgh’s sports overhaul is a wicked design challenge.

A report on design thinking defines wicked design challenges as a “class of social system problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing” (Churchman, 1967 , p. 141).

One positive outcome is the building of a collective belief, especially among consequential stakeholders. Municipal government, county services, school districts, coaches, volunteers, college admissions officers, employers, educators, families and learners are needed for engagement and eventual prosperity.

The challenge of building a collective belief is a far more complicated design challenge than making a new slogan with team t-shirts.

The courses, interactions, pathways, playlists and experiences at Play.CLOH.org offer visual designs with digital badges, yet the movement is surprisingly complex. Badge system design demands more effort than a series of web activities and services. As Play.CLOH.org efforts are designed to function across institutional and other types of boundaries, the meta mission with an entire open badge infrastructure makes the complexity of the struggle and its design task exponentially confusing.

Shifting Sands N@

This article reflects upon the LRNG.org’s Partner Handbook, a guide for creating XPs, playlists and badges.

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

LRNG_Lifestyle1

 

Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the Play.CLOH.org grant proposals of 2016. Swimming, water polo, golf, kayaking, running 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 gets top billing at Play.CLOH.org. A robust suite of additional enrichment activities and experiences for better preparing youngsters is needed and welcomed.

Sadly, 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 – then, they rise to meet challenges. Here, we can compete with anyone, anywhere. Kids, you can receive the help to become the best you can be, and that means that some are sure to become 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. Play.CLOH.org aims to better align-and-unify mind-and-body. Play.CLOH.org prevents the divorce between the two.

Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for LRNG.org is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at Play.CLOH.org champions lifelong learning for those who want to live 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.

Coach and camper
Coach and camper.

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 region’s best high school boys’ team. It was an epic moral victory, and lots of fun, when the North Allegheny high school boys squad tied the Pittsburgh Masters squad at a game in the 2016 CMU tournament.

Play.CLOH.org 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, 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.

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

Home quote
Home quote from their handbook.

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

Baseball has 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, Play.CLOH.org 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.

Both LRNG and Play.CLOH.org aim to connect communities around shared goals. The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of Play.CLOH.org. The over-arching goal is playing well with others. LRNG and Play.CLOH.org play well together.

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities

Play.CLOH.org features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. Plenty of overlap and common ground exists. The Play.CLOH.org “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 LRNG.org pillars and Play.CLOH.org quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

 

Play.CLOH.org efforts consider “Why” first. “How” should be informed by “Why.” In other words, the method and activities should be informed by the purpose.

The why behind the digital badges called Tech Captains becomes clear as dozens of high school students are hired to serve as coaches, instructors, lifeguards and camp leaders for Swim & Water Polo Camp. All workers are not equal.

In 2015, 40+ employees coached more than 200 students at 10 different pools. 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 more valuable employees have been the ones with a prior relationships with the program leader, their fellow workers and the activities. The greatness days at camp come when varsity swimmers perform and lead the younger students in grades 3 to 7.

Pittsburgh has a proven demand and available facilities to train more than 2,000 youngsters in a Swim & Water Polo Camp in the summers. Throughout the winter, Pittsburgh has the available facilities to train more than 6,000 swimmers.

Sticking points for growing the programs to reach thousands of kids are a shortage of coaches for staff positions and a lacking political will by certain individuals in high positions. The awarding of educational grants would help to sway the opinions among certain administration in the school district.

Throughout the school year, about 40 kids are involved in the varsity swim teams, boys and girls at Obama. In the district of 30,000 students, Pittsburgh has about 250 swimmers among all the schools and grades.

However, a staff of more than 100 would be needed to lead campers by the thousands. The pathway to to the Tech Captains badges can help to develop the individuals who can join the staff for future camps.

Hamstring Stretch in Homewood with Water Polo Players
Hamstring Stretch in Homewood with Water Polo Players

An All-City Sports Camp has been proposed. However, other posts are already being filled in 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 Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center hire about 150 kids, ages 14 to 21, for the city’s summer youth employment program.

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 Play.CLOH.org 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 Play.CLOH.org 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.

Running-straight_stamp-speed

For the high school students, fitting in the time for training, playing, competing, 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 Play.CLOH.org.

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.

Pittsburgh’s shared passions: Sports, Technology, Our Children. Pittsburgh is a sports town. Pittsburgh is also a technology town. Our kids are a passion for many too. Play.CLOH.org connects these common passions of sports, fitness and wellness to technology for our kids. With this approach, the entire community can be responsible. Schools, nonprofits, companies, gamers, governments, caregivers, mentors, and peers are all involved in Play.CLOH.org.

Play.CLOH.org and USA Swimming’s Deck Pass can make LRNG float.

One of the avenues for obtaining funding with the DML Competition is to “augment existing connected learning programming with new connected learning resources and/or experiences that must be conceived of and sequenced as playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions.”

The Play.CLOH.org’s proposal includes a bridge from an existing program that has been operational for the past five years. USA Swimming of Colorado Springs started its Deck Pass program in 2011. Developed and maintained in-house, Deck Pass has awarded 35 million patches since it opened.

The USA Swimming patches are similar to XPs and Digital Badges in that they are bestowed to individuals based upon merit and achievements. The graphic patches form collections for individuals who have set-up free accounts with usernames and passwords.

In 2016, of USA Swimming’s 400,000 athletes, about 300,000 have Deck Pass accounts. Non-members can play along too.

Individuals can issue friend requests for messaging and revealing their collections to others to witness. A majority of the patches are granted on Mondays following the weekend swim meets and come automatically based upon a rules-based system that interacts with the national swims database.

Some patches have come based upon holidays, geography, meet standards and coaches creations. USA Swimming Coaches (30,000) can design and issue custom patches to connect with the swimmers: Practice Beast, Performer of the Day, Kicking Winner, etc. Some patches are geared for swimmers in certain ages and provide appropriate insights on the Safe Sports, Anti-Doping, Nutrition, Anti-Bulling.

Rewards can be tied to patches. One cool feature of Deck Pass is its ability to integrate with a phone’s camera and provide QR Code Reader interactions. A kid could get a patch through the application by attending the USA Olympic Trials and seeing the QR Code in the meet program or on a sign at the facility.

The Deck Pass program is growing by 20% a year and is especially valued by Moms OnDeck. Its purpose was to keep kids motivated, striving, and involved in the sport of swimming. The “cartooning” of the patches are not as well received with older kids so different tools are being deployed that address the more mature kids with a detailed focus on how to swim faster. The patches for older swimmers are less abstract in offering a cool reward, but the patches are getting more technical. The trend in the patches is to show specific interests in how to better perform. Data analysis happens and the patches can unlock a video series to keep one motivated.

Play.CLOH.org can build a bridge of connected learning assets that spans between the USA Swimming Deck Pass and LRNG.

Support for Play.CLOH.org comes from USA Swimming Coach, David Scraven, Head Coach of Upper St. Clair Swim Club and High School in suburban Pittsburgh. Scraven, a former Standford swimmer, coaches one of the best teams in the region. Getting some of the swimmers at USC into the coalesce of a city-wide Varsity Club for working on technology can provide a way for city and suburban kids to reach and interact with connected learning, while playing well with others.

Other partners in the Play.CLOH.org network have swim pools and teams, including the JCC Sailfish (USA Swimming Club), Thelma Lovette YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh Public Schools (14 pools, 8 varsity teams, 20+ teams in elementary and middle school grades) and Hosanna House.

The Teamwork and Sportsmanship patches or badges offer some ways for early adopters to integrate and connect various systems and populations.

TeamUnify, another within the sport of swimming that support the Play.CLOH.org proposal, can fill a tremendous role in capitalizing the opportunities for connected learning among the LRNG efforts and the patches of USA Swimming. TeamUnify has a times database too. TeamUnify’s app, OnDeck, fills other needs for parents/guardians, swim coaches and teams.

The short-term plans being discussed, should the funds from the DML Competition arrive, is to deploy the aquatic-related playlists by advancing Play.CLOH.org network internationally. Those in swimming in Canada, UK, AUS, NZ, and RSA do not have nor wish to contract with the services of USA Swimming. With the robust tools and help of TeamUnify and LRNG, the international markets can be opened.

 

AutoCoach of Australia is another partner in the aquatics field that has exceptional, high-tech timing equipment especially geared to swimming. AutoCoach XPs are expected in the months to come. AutoCoach has customers around the world, especially in Australia and the Pacific rim nations. AutoCoach sales efforts involve the attending of many coaching clinics and seminars around the world, including the World Clinic held in the USA.

Auto-coach-products

Deploying aquatic related playlists can be successful with the USA college-club markets. Building relationships with those sizable populations would avoid duplication of efforts and needless competitive wranglings with USA Swimming.

skwim4

College swimming happens with varsity teams at the NCAA levels as well as with non-varsity, club settings. The club settings present a challenge, but also the best opportunity for wide-spread adoption of playlists and pathways with Play.CLOH.org and LRNG hosted utilities. College Tri Teams would be potential advocates for playlists.

All the water polo players in the college ranks follow the lead of the Collegiate Water Polo Association and its sibling organization also hosted in the Philadelphia area, American Water Polo. American Water Polo is a long-term partner with our aquatic efforts in Pittsburgh and has provided a letter of support for Play.ClOH.org.

Spoken as a recent coach of the Carnegie Mellon University Womens Water Polo Team, I am confident that the college club water polo scene can benefit from certain XPs that have already been designed and are about to launch at LRNG. — Mark Rauterkus

Water_Polo_knowledge_badge

Another strategy for advancing connected learning opportunities in aquatics with Play.CLOH.org is to develop content for older individuals, ages 16 to 24, and then re-position these XPs and pathways within the USA Swimming Deck Pass framework. What goes into LRNG can also be tweaked and plugged into Deck Pass. Rather than beat em, join them. Let’s provide Play.CLOH.org’s XPs to USA Swimming. The older kids who seem to out-grow the cartoon-like patches of USA Swimming’s Deck Pass might appreciate the career, technology, personal development and cross-training within Play.CLOH.org. The user-base at USA Swimming could migrate to LRNG with the help of the playlists and pathways of Play.CLOH.org. Furthermore, older swimmers with tech skills can begin to craft their own patches for each other and the younger swimmers on their teams.

AutoCoach makes sales call.
Sally Lee of Australia, visiting with a swim coach at CalU, to show off the merits of AutoCoach Timing Systems.

Aquatics, deep water swimming, pre-lifeguard tests, water safety, lifeguard training, SKWIM, water polo, open-water swimming, one-mile swims, sports first aid, swim instructor volunteering, wellness exercises and the Olympic sports are central to the CLOH.org network and experiences. Many of the competitive swimmers in the age group ranks might appreciate on-going structure and badges after ending their competitive swim team seasons. This makes a sequence to playlists at Play.CLOH.org from an existing connected learning program. The span goes from USA Swimming (National Governing Body) to TeamUnify (swim business that manages big data for teams in the cloud) Deep_Water_Badge-0to LRNG with playlists, pathways, XPs and badges from Play.CLOH.org.

 

Sorry. This takes more than 300 words to describe the audience. Thanks for reading.

Hard sell overview for Play.CLOH.org

Getting a DMLCompetition.net grant for $125K to Play.CLOH.org makes sense because the assembled team is huge (35 partners), prolific in past and present (hundreds of publications and tutorials exist), builds success from fertile, grass-roots participants in Pittsburgh to state-wide and national scope organizations (YMCA, JCC, Boys & Girls Clubs, First Tee, USA Swimming, Water Polo, SKWIM USA, PA Athletic Directors), and engages participants within and around the most popular activities – scholastic sports. Play.CLOH.org unlocks meaningful opportunities for youth employment that are reinforced by a state mandates. Instructor, umpire and lifeguarding opportunities address world-wide shortages.

Play.CLOH.org’s stellar connections and combinations inter-twine with both sports and technology, enriching each other. Athletes are motivated to learn computer science, geeks to physical activity. Desires for lifelong learning delivers lifelong fitness, less obesity, goal-setting and volition.

Our killer-app quality assets are built on free-and-open-source software, with optional, value-packed ($35 + $10 for its case), Raspberry Pi 3 Linux computers the size of a deck of cards. LiveCode 8 is ready for prime time. Teachers and existing tutorials are ready to help students to master animation, playbooks, cross-platform software coding, app creation, big data and chat bots.

Social implications are life-changing, life-transforming and of life-and-death. Last month 500 young men died by drowning from one region of eastern Senegal. Dave Zirin’s films (Not Just A Game; Race Power & American Sports), articles and podcasts guide discussions and compel use of teleconference skills.

Athletes, especially in urban schools, are under-served with enrichment options. Play.CLOH.org connects passions and popularity of sports to job paths and digital competent, literate, fluent, brilliant and genius levels.

Play.CLOH.org content can be wrapped with the LRNG elements and soar higher than the others.

This mission and LRNG play well together

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

The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of Play.CLOH.org.

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities

Play.CLOH.org features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. The Play.CLOH.org “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 LRNG.org pillars and Play.CLOH.org quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

LRNG Pillar #

LRNG
Pillar Name

Play.CLOH
Quarter #

Play.CLOH

Quarter Name

Similarities for both LRNG & Play.CLOH

1

Craft Experiences

2

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

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

2

Gather Communities

1

Present

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.

3

Build the World

3

Technology

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

4

Unlock Opportunities

4

Development

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

Play.CLOH.org 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.

Running-straight_stamp-speed

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 Play.CLOH.org. 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. 

Play.CLOH.org 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 Play.CLOH.org 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 Play.CLOH.org 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 Play.CLOH.org.

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.

Lifestyle Learning

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

LRNG_Lifestyle1

Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the Play.CLOH.org 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. Play.CLOH.org unifies mind and body and prevents the divorce between the two.

WP-Cap_Tie_at_Ammon

Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for LRNG.org is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at Play.CLOH.org 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.

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Masters squad at summer practice in Mt. Washington’s Citiparks Ream Pool, with a mix of ages.

Play.CLOH.org 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 Play.CLOH.org 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.”

LRNG-Home-base

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, Play.CLOH.org 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.

dreamer_past_LM

Inside plans for Play.CLOH.org

A grant application is due in a week and some changes to the proposal that was sent to The Sprout Fund are expected. These are not a serious change of direction, but they are enhancements and further expansion for the sake of scale and impact.

A letter of support from Milestone Pod has been requested and promised. The Milestone Pod, made by Milestone Sports, is an electronic pedometer used in 2015 with our students at Swim & Water Polo. It presents a fun bridge between technology and running. Running is a solo sport. But, with the Milestone Pod, the running is more connected to others. Plus, the data from the pod and the handling of the Bluetooth technology and its accelerometer is tech-rich.

The HQ Orientation slated for Quarter One is getting a boost with a letter of support from Kevin DeForrest, author of the book, The Treasure Within. The book was published years ago by the Sports Support Syndicate and is to be made into an ebook and an app (perhaps a HTML5 presentation). The Treasure Within XP can be a fine experience for athletes teach about being present.

The Tech Captains Digital Badge was the only outcome for the proposal delivered to The Sprout Fund. Additional digital badges can be proposed in the next documentation. For example, those that earn the Tech Captains in fall, winter and spring within the same school year get a different designation, the Literate Olympians Digital Badges. Also expected are outdoor recreation digital badges, aquatic athlete digital badges and technology level digital badges. The Varsity Athletes Digital Badges can be earned by those who log 100 or more practice and competitions with five or more teammates in a season.

Community voice experiences with the open mic are getting expanded to include participation at other events such as Lawrenceville’s Art All Night, PodCamp Pittsburgh, EDU Camp, Word Camp slated for September 2016, Steel City Codefest, Venture Fest in May at Point State Park and The Moth. Day of coding and other special events are able to be put into that experience as desired by participants and program leaders.

Additional clarification as to what is not in the mix needs to be detailed somewhere. Motor sports, skiing, solo rock climbing are hard to embrace with the theme of playing well with others. All the XPs at Play.CLOH.org are to include at least two, and hopefully three, of the main traits: Play, Technology and Development.

Some type of experience for chess, especially community chess and tournament chess, is welcomed.

More discussion and details need to occur with the unlocking of additional opportunities as some experiences are completed and others then become presented.

We hope that Pair Networks, see Pair.com, is going to be pulled into our network. Pair.com can be a big helper as a technology partner. I’d love to have the Pair Networks help with eCommerce and long-term sustainability. Getting virtual server space for limited months or reduced rates can be an unlocked opportunity for those that get to the brilliant and genius stages. Pair Networks also has some tutorials that can be embraced and re-positioned as XPs.

Human Kinetics, the worlds largest publisher of titles about physical activity, is considering a proposal.

Instructor trainers need additional mentions. There are plenty of instructor trainers in the network, but they can be better highlighted in the proposal.

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.