At a rare Summer-time event, the Ask, Listen, Learn team had a great morning at the Havre de Grace Boys and Girls Club in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
Representative Ruppersberger and Mayor Dougherty talked to the group of kids ages 5-15 about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and making good decisions to take care of your body.
The kids had definitely been practicing our archery game before we arrived, as they were happy to show off their skills as their peers cheered them on. They even showed Rep. Ruppersberger and Mayor Dougherty how to play!
Thank you to all the kids who answered questions and ran hard on the game today. You guys are awesome!
And don't forget to check out more pictures from the event on our Facebook.More > 0 Comments
I love being a part of the Ask, Listen, Learn team because it lets me talk with young people about the powerful effect making good choices (like saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking) has on their future. And it's so fulfilling to meet and talk with kids about their dreams and encourage them to stay focused in their pursuit of those goals — honestly, sometimes it's hard for me to tell who inspires who more. But right now, I'd like to speak directly to the biggest influence in those children's lives: parents.
As a father of three little ones myself, I am familiar with the challenge that lies in finding just the right moment to have those important heart-to-heart chats with the kids. So, today I want to offer tips on how to take advantage of this summer's Olympics to jump into one of the most important (and one of the more intimidating) of those discussions: saying “no” to underage drinking.
Here's the plan:
1. Stress the end game. Point out to them that not a single athlete got the title of “Olympian” on accident. Their climb to the top was absolutely calculated. Let them know none of the athletes made a decision without considering how it would affect them in achieving their ultimate goal. Were they ever tempted to make bad decisions like drink underage? Sure. But they knew if they said “yes,” it would hinder their chances of success. Encourage your kids to think before making choices.
2. Turn adversity into advantage. In my book, “Redemption,” I talk about plenty of times when I faced obstacles, and I can guarantee you every competitor in the Games has caught their fair share of bad breaks, too. But the key to their success is they never shied away from adversity. Instead, they embraced it, they learned from it and they then took that experience and leveraged it to their advantage to put them ahead of the game. Urge your kids to do the same while watching the events.
3. What's their passion? Take a second to ask your children what they are passionate about. Then assure them that drinking before they're allowed to will certainly make it much harder for them to be their best at that, but by making healthy, smart decisions, they are more likely to reach their potential.
4. Don't cut corners. During the Games, make your children aware of the fact that those Olympic athletes make it a point to constantly challenge themselves. They hunger for the next experience that will make them better at what they do. And, they avoid the easy way out because they know it is usually a poor decision leading to short-term gain and long-term loss. Mention this to your kids and ask them what sort of things they could do to challenge themselves to become their best.
I hope you will use my advice and take advantage of the upcoming Games as an opportunity to start the conversation with your children about underage drinking. I would also suggest taking our Ask, Listen, Learn Pledge for a healthy lifestyle at asklistenlearn.com/pledge. Once you've had the talk, leave me a comment or tweet me @BryanClay and let me know how it went! You can do it!
Enjoy the Games!
Cheer Bryan on later this month as he competes in the 2012 Thorpe Cup!More > 0 Comments
We are pleased to announce our new partnership with Together Counts, an initiative of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF). Together Counts™ is a nationwide program that seeks to inspire active and healthy living, especially among youth. The principle behind this effort is Energy Balance, which means balancing the calories we consume with the calories we burn. Calories in; calories out. It's that simple.
HWCF is a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 200 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. Their Together Counts national, multi-year effort is designed to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015.
We look forward to the Together Counts and Ask Listen Learn partnership and the synergies that this collaboration will create in our joint effort to keep our nation's youth healthy and active!More > 0 Comments
The Summer Games are coming fast. I see this as a great opportunity for parents to speak with their kids about living a healthy lifestyle. I can assure you that athletes in London, like myself, have had to make hard decisions. For the most part, I and other top athletes I compete against have been lucky enough to make good decisions about underage drinking and living healthy.
I have a daughter, Trinity, and she is in Ask, Listen, Learn's target age group. I always tell her that I have always had to make sure to live healthy and make positive decisions so that I could continue to accomplish the goals I set for myself. I constantly point out to her that I have to take great care of my body in order to do my best, and that is true no matter what it is she wants to do when she grows up.
As parents, we have to remember that everything we do and everything we say is being watched by our kids and other young people who look up to us. It's important for me to remember the healthy decisions I had to make in order for me to reach my dreams and accomplish my goals so that I may use those stories as evidence of a formula toward a happy life for Trinity.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to use my track success as a teaching tool, and I encourage you to do the same. So as you sit down with your kids this summer to watch the Games or any other sporting event, use these tips on to start the conversation with them about saying “NO” to underage drinking:
- Point out that athletes reached this level of competition by making smart decisions that are helpful and not harmful for their body.
- Tell your kids how important it is to overcome setbacks and bad days and bounce back from a tough race or a step backward in school. I attribute my ability to bounce back from my injuries as perhaps my biggest strength. This applies to all areas of life.
- Encourage and help your kids explore their favorite things. I found my passion on the track, but some kids prefer the classroom or helping out in their community. Whatever they enjoy, help them set goals to become better at that each day and show them what steps they should (and shouldn't) take along the way in order to be their best.
- Use the positive atmosphere surrounding the next few weeks of action in London to sit down with your kids, discuss their goals, and take the healthy lifestyle pledge at www.asklistenlearn.com/pledge today.
Please take advantage of the this great chance to chat with your kids about the importance of saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking.More > 0 Comments
The most decorated athlete in Taekwondo and Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar Steven Lopez took a break from his intense training schedule for the Games to sit down for a quick chat with the Ask, Listen, Learn team! What advice did he have for us? Keep reading and see for yourself!
Q: Steven, you are an amazing athlete and a fierce competitor. When fans of the sport hear the word “Taekwondo,” you are the guy that immediately comes to mind. You've earned three Olympic medals and five World Championships. What's your secret?
Well, thanks! I appreciate that. So, what's my secret? I would say my secret has always been my family. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by my brothers and sister, who also just so happen to be Taekwondo Olympians, and they have been the most positive, powerful influence on my life and my career. They keep me motivated, and they constantly inspire me and push me to become a better athlete, competitor and person. Any success I have seen in Taekwondo, I credit to the close relationship I have with them and the strong presence they have in my life.
Q: Taekwondo has been a big part of your life since you were a kid. Since the beginning of your career in the sport, what is the most important quality Taekwondo has taught you?
This is a tough one! Taekwondo has taught me so many key things about life and about myself, so it's hard to boil all of those attributes down into just one. But, if I had to name one thing I have learned in my career, I would say the most important thing it has taught me is respect. Even before we step into the arena, the first thing we do is bow to one another, so respect is a huge part of Taekwondo, and it has opened my eyes to the fact that respect is also a huge part of having a happy life. It has not only taught me to have respect for the art and respect for others but to have respect for myself, and that is such a crucial quality for anyone to have.
Q: As an Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar and world class athlete, you often speak to students about your life and all of the incredible feats you've been able to accomplish, including the steps you took to make it to where you are today. If you could tell your young fans one thing, what advice would you give them?
I think the most important thing young people can do is have a dream, to have a goal that will make you want to aspire to be the best person you could possibly be. It's crucial for young people to find something that they like, that they are passionate about and that they truly enjoy and try to become better at that — whatever it may be — every single day. That is how you reach your goals, and that is how you create the life you've always wanted. That being said, it's also important to know that you're going to have to stay focused on your end goal and not let yourself get distracted by anything that could keep you from reaching it. So, find your passion, set your goal and make good, healthy choices along the way, and you will find happiness.
We're so glad Steven could spend some time with the Ask, Listen, Learn team! He's such an incredible athlete, person and role-model, and we look forward to watching him in the Games! Good luck, Steven!
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Queen of the breaststroke and Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar Rebecca Soni just finished an impressive week of swimming performances at the US Swim Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska! The morning after her win, she was on the main Aqua Zone stage signing autographs with Ask, Listen, Learn.
We caught up with the Gold medalist swimmer to ask her what her secret is. Here's the scoop
Q: We think you did an incredible job in the water at Swim Trials this week! How do you feel about your event performances?
A: Thanks! First of all, there are so many unbelievable athletes who competed at the Trials, and I am so thankful and fortunate to have the opportunity to dive into the same pool as them. As for how I feel about my events, I feel really good! And I don't get that satisfaction from getting a high score or winning a race. I get that satisfaction from knowing that I gave it my all and tried my best, and if you can truly say that, you'll never be disappointed — no matter the outcome.
Q: You are an amazing athlete and have been so successful in your swimming career. Were there ever any times where you failed, and if so, how did you overcome those failures and stay motivated to reach your goal?
A: This might sound a little strange, but I think sometimes failure and adversity both get a bad rap. Failure is great because when you fail, you are placed at a very important crossroads where you have to decide, “Am I going to accept this failure and quit, or am I going to learn from this failure, work to prevent this from happening again and become a better person because of it?” And from my experience, that's rarely been an easy question to answer. But, I just always remind myself that failures are bound to happen at some point in my life, and as long as I continue to make good decisions, take care of myself and do everything to the best of my ability, I will be successful. And I think the same is true for anybody.
Q: A lot of your biggest fans are middle school-aged kids. Middle school is such a fun time for so many of us, but it is also a time when there is a lot of pressure to do things, such as drinking underage, that might make it hard for kids to reach their goals. When you were in middle school, you were competing as a swimmer. How did you avoid giving into those pressures to make unhealthy choices that could have kept you from becoming the champion athlete you are today?
A: Funny story— a lot of people don't know this, but when I was growing up, I really wanted to be a gymnast. The only reason I joined my older sister Rita's swimming club was because I was tired of having to wait for her to finish her swim classes! But I'm so glad I got into swimming, because it quickly became one of my biggest passions in life, and since I was so in love with swimming, I didn't want to do anything that could stop me from competing. So, I think it's really important for kids to figure out what they're passionate about and get involved in it. After I got into swimming, I wouldn't have made any decision that I thought might kept me out of the water—especially underage drinking.
Q: For all the kids and fans out there chasing their dreams, what advice would you give them?
A: Keep chasing! That's the most important thing you can do is to keep going after your goals and never giving up. There's going to be times when you get discouraged or want to quit, but when you push through those tough times and accomplish your goals, it will feel so much more worth it.
Congratulations to Rebecca on her outstanding showing at the Swim Trials! We are proud to have her on our team, and we wish her the best of luck in the upcoming summer games!
In what ways have you chosen to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking? Leave us a comment or tweet @AskListenLearn to let us know!More > 0 Comments
Hey guys! This is Tyson Gay, and I just wanted to let you all know how blessed I feel to have loyal and supportive fans like you. Thank you so much for your encouragement during my competitions these last few weeks and during my rehab over this last year— it means so much to me, and I really appreciate you guys....
Read on for Tyson's suggestions on how you can be your best!More > 0 Comments