They say that things get better with time, and our 4th Annual BOSS™ camp (inaugural Long Beach BOSS™) was our best yet. Presented from the College of Business on the Long Beach State campus for 50 middle school student athletes, the camp is the first step in a year-round, multi-year “process” designed to not just help our student athletes understand how to be successful beyond sports, but to help them to help their non-athlete peers succeed. This is a highly positive narrative, in an area where the spotlight already is looking for new news and outcomes, i.e. nearly ¾ of all LBUSD boys of color (worse for LAUSD boys of color) who graduate Long Beach high schools WILL NOT meet 4-year college entrance requirements.
We started each day with “Jump Start”, an hour of spirited, non-sport specific athletic training. “Celebrity” trainers included Ken Taylor, a member of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears and now known as the “Speed Dr.”, members of the Velocity Sports Performance team, the nation’s largest sports performance training provider, and former Long Beach Poly and UCLA great Anthony Cobbs.
We spent the next couple hours each day in the computer lab, working on a camp media project and competing in our annual “Math Madness”, a single elimination tournament based on solving progressively more difficult math. The team of Andrew Pierce and Kenan Wondercheck, representing Arizona State, were crowned champions in our winners’ bracket. We crowned the team of Emilio Farrell and ZaiAmir St. Bernard, representing Columbia, winners in our NIT (losers bracket). In the process, we confirmed an 18.5% increase in scores on the math assessment test administered at the start and end of the camp and developed by Dr. Kagba Suaray, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Long Beach State University. We also noted improved attitude towards learning, improved interpersonal skills, greater attentiveness and nearly 100% parental participation. With the data that will be provided by the Long Beach Unified School District going forward, will be able to statistically document the level of our impact and confirm the measure of our results. We also confirmed that 100% of the boys will continue with us and our school year programming.
We treated the boys to an array of amazing speakers, who engaged them in lively conversations on topics ranging from brand & reputation; commitment, confidence & consistency; constructive use of criticism; decision science; entrepreneurship; financial literacy; going from good to great; maximizing potential; powers & dangers of social media; and transforming belief. We sprinkled in cultural identity, memory and exam techniques, leadership and team building and resume writing and career exploration activities to make for an amazing two weeks of growing and learning. Keynote luncheon speakers included former USC/Panthers great turned author and motivational speaker, Thomas Williams; medical doctor and jet pilot/flight surgeon, Clarence D. Lee, a nationally celebrated author, international speaker and CEO of CMLEEJR Companies; highly sought after keynote speaker, author and business coach, Jamarr Brown; LA Rams safety Isaiah Johnson, our newest BOSS™ pro athlete ambassador; and legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg who has represented some of the most successful pro athletes of our time, including the number one overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented 8 times among 62 1st round draft picks.
Field trips included a day-long experience at the Port of Long Beach headquarters where the boys were treated to a panel discussion moderated by Stacey Lewis, Director of Human Resources and featuring Bridgett D. Lewis, Manager of Security Operations, Mario Ernesto Gonzalez, Manager of Community Relations, Morgan Caswell, Environmental Specialist, and Ruben Fabela, Civil Engineer. The engaging conversation with POLB executives was followed by a 2-hour boat tour of Port facilities and operations. We returned to the (new) headquarters of Applied Minds for the 3rd summer. Co-founded by ex-Disney imagineers Bran Ferren and Danny Hillis, the company is described as a “Willy Wonka chocolate factory for geek lovers”. The company’s cross-disciplinary wizardry is behind projects (clients including General Motors, Northrop Grumman and other large organizations that prefer to remain anonymous) that include Babble, a gadget designed by Applied Minds, with office furniture company Herman Miller, for creating sonic privacy in workspaces without walls; an online search and collaboration system called Metaweb, a project to identify and match specific cancer treatments based on attributes of a patient’s body chemistry and new teleconferencing products that promise what Applied Minds co-founder Bran Ferren calls “high emotional resolution.”
We tied a bow on an amazing 2-week with a basketball clinic delivered by the Los Angeles Lakers from the Pyramid, the home of the Long Beach State 49ers basketball team and an outing to historic Dodgers Stadium for a thrilling, extra inning win by the Dodgers over the arch rival SF Giants. We closed out our inaugural Long Beach BOSS™ with an awards ceremony from The Pointe at the Pyramid where we recognized the amazing progress the boys have already made and paid tribute to our camp staff (Charle’ Moore, Daniel Glenn, Zach Moo Young and Josiah Walker), sponsors and supporters. intense 2-week camp.
After taking in the Rams’ preseason opener against the Cowboys on August 12th we’ll deliver the year-round component of the “process” from The Pointe at the Pyramid that will include mentoring, real world experiences and opportunities for advocacy and service. BOSS™!
Click here to view a Google photo gallery that captures the excitement of BOSS™