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February 17, 2021

In 2017, Admiral William H. McRaven wowed Americans with his viral commencement speech centered on his experience with elite Navy Seal training. His simple message, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” reduced all achievements, great and small, to simple goal setting and drawing inspiration from achieving those goals. More important, it drew attention to the fact that little things matter: We all have the power to end each day with a reminder that we started the day having achieved a goal.

Y4Y’s new Click & Go, Health and Wellness: Partnering With the School Day, might seem a far-flung topic from Navy Seal training. After all, our wellness goals for our students hopefully don’t involve confronting sharks or sitting in freezing cold mud all night. But Admiral McRaven’s advice still resonates.

The mini-lesson in the new Y4Y Click & Go shows how valuable your 21st CCLC program can be in advancing the health and wellness of your students, beginning with the basic definition of health as “the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Moreover, wellness is defined as “the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.” An actively sought goal: enter Admiral McRaven.

With tips from the Click & Go resources, your health and wellness initiative can bridge gaps in school-day offerings with activities centered on physical activity, social and emotional learning, and nutrition. As the admiral might say, you can inform, support and inspire students to set goals around making good choices in these areas. Then help them reach those goals. Research shows that improving wellness boosts the ability to focus attention, process information and build new skills and knowledge. This ultimately results in better grades and behavior, and a better outlook in life for your students. What’s more, the lessons gained through social and emotional learning itself builds self-awareness, self-regulation and positive coping skills. Before you know it, your students may very well have the fortitude of a team of Navy Seals!

Admiral McRaven’s words of wisdom emphasize the power of hope, and how profoundly one person can change the world by giving hope to others. This gets to the very spirit and mission of the 21st CCLC program, which is designed to pave the way for underserved students, show them the bright futures within their power to achieve, and provide tools to help them reach their goals. Their health and wellness lie at the beginning and end of that achievement, just as a neatly made bed lies at the beginning and end of a goal-driven day.

 


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