Above – Exeter-Milligan students listen to former Navy SEAL Jason talk about leadership and teamwork during the Applied Performance Science presentation.
Below– Exeter-Milligan students during the training portion of the Applied Performance Science presentation.
Above – Exeter-Milligan Seventh grader Clint Oldehoeft watches for his teammates to return from running a relay during the Applied Performance Science presentation.
Below – Exeter-Milligan students take off running during the training portion of the Applied Performance Science presentation.
Above – Exeter-Milligan students wait in push-up formation as their teammates take turns running during the training portion of the Applied Performance Science presentation.
Below – Jason, right, and Anthony, left, speak to the group of Exeter-Milligan and Fillmore County Coalition students at the end of the training portion of the Applied Performance Science project.
Human performance, learning to tune our bodies to perform at their peak level, was the core lesson that Exeter-Milligan students were taught during the Friday, April 15th program from Applied Performance Science.
Two former Navy SEALs, Anthony and Jason, presented the Applied Performance Science philosophy first to the high school parents in a Thursday evening session in the Exeter site gym.
They emphasized the concepts of leadership and teamwork, “Team dynamics to make them better individuals and to be a positive influence on our society. The backbone of the program is getting kids to make the right choices.”
Most of the information for the parents focused on the physical side of high school students needs for growth including sleep, side effects of alcohol and drugs and the stress.
The program, which according to Anthony is “not a DARE program. . . We give them other reasons to not engage in these activities.”
The students spent Friday morning hearing a presentation on the background of the SEALs, discipline, commitment and personal responsibility. All of these concepts were tied together came out on the field where the students were led in team activities.
These were challenging activities and the students were given the option to drop out if they felt unable to physically complete the tasks.
The program was tough but beneficial, explained ninth grader Spencer Pribyl, “It was a hard workout but the team part of it was good.”
In the afternoon the students learned about the physiological effects of sleep, drugs, alcohol, stress and nutrition. They were able to see real brain scans with positive and negative effects of each factor.
This resonated with the students as well. Trever Zelenka, a ninth grader, reflected that he “learned a lot about performance and sleep. I maybe will change some of my eating habits.”
Eight grader Max Zeleny felt positive about the day’s events, “It was good exercise. I learned to always bring your “A” game in everything. If you lose, come back even better.”
Another eighth grader, Ryan Sharp, expressed that, “it was a good learning experience for everyone. It taught us teamwork because we had to work together. I thought it was pretty cool that Mrs. White stuck it out with us (in the physical training).”
Jolene Frook, the coordinator of Fillmore County Coalition who were instrumental in bringing the program to the county, felt that the Applied Performance program embodied the coalitions core vision, “Strong youth, strong community, strong life.”
In order to establish this vision, Frook, has been encouraging a group of youth who have committed to stay drug, alcohol and tobacco free. “We want to provide education to assist in the achievement of personal life promote healthy living choices including the prevention of drug alcohol tobacco abuse in Fillmore County.”
Frook explained that the day Anthony and John spent educating the Exeter-Miligan students (along with a few students from Fillmore Central and Shickley who are coalition members) was just the tip of the iceberg. “This is a five year commitment. We just got a taste and short overview of the program. All of the information goes much more in depth. We aren’t sure if we will have them back. There is a two day training program in Hastings this summer that I hope some can attend.”
Funds from a Federal block grant along with a grant from the Mary Tous Foundation, the Exeter-Milligan School Foundation and the Fillmore County Foundation helped make the event possible. The program has been presented to professional sports teams, college teams, and Olympic teams worldwide.
Paul Sheffield, Exeter-Milligan Superintendent saw the value in the program for the district, “We want to create and maintain a culture of championships and also provide the information students need to make smart choices. Having expectations, holding ourselves accountable and holding our teammates (peers, coworkers, whatever it may be) accountable is life long.”
Tenth grader Tara Mueller echoed the emphasis on teamwork, ”I learned that you should always put others above yourself because you are part of a team. There was so much that I can apply to my everyday life.”
Frook hopes that the message will stay with the students, “I would hope that kids would see two things – one the whole team piece where what you chose to do with yourself whether it’s on the weekend or staying up late does impact the greater team not just yourself. What I would hope is that teams would be more cohesive that kids start communicating with their peers. Overall I hope that substance abuse would reduce due to the scientific backing. John Underwood (the creator of the program) emphasizes that this is a leadership program. He says ‘I don’t want your best athletes I want your leaders.’
Sheffield concurred, “We chose to have this program at Exeter-Milligan because we want to do anything we can do to help students make these smart lifestyle choices.”