The Founder

It’s Training Camp: Are you Ready?

It’s Training Camp: Are you Ready?

Let’s Read. Let’s Move.

By: Chris Draft

I can't tell you how many people asked me if the season was going to happen. Is there going to be football this year? Although I was confident that the season would be played, the question that really mattered was, “would the players be ready to go?” Since the lockout began, players have lost valuable time and access to offseason strength and conditioning programs, positions meetings and practice. I wondered could they still be ready?

As a 13-year NFL veteran, I know that football is not simply about wanting to play, but instead the assurance that one is ready to play?

This is the same question that our students must ask themselves in days leading up to the school year. I would challenge students to reflect upon the time since the school doors closed in the spring—did you spend the summer doing something to strengthen your academic abilities? Just like football, the summer can either make you or break you, and a successful summer training regimen can help prevent injuries during the season. In education, we see this lack of preparedness reflected in the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth who have unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college

But the good thing is there is time. It’s time for Training Camp!

As an ambassador of United We Serve: Let’s Read. Let’s Move. I’ve teamed up with the Corporation for National and Community Service to encourage Americans to address summer reading and childhood obesity. We are inspiring parents, caregivers and volunteers to read to kids in your life and encourage them to stay active.  Simply reading 5 books over the summer can prevent summer reading loss. After all, a football team coach would never go directly into a season without ensuring his players successfully completed training camp. Like the players on the football team, students need the constant routine of studying, practicing, eating right, exercising and reading, to be ready to tackle the upcoming season.  Guess what? Coaches all over the league are telling their players the same thing during training camp--“Let’s Read. Let’s Move.”

The players who taken training camp seriously and have pushed themselves are rewarded. Likewise students who have committed to reading, exercising, and eating right over the summer will have an advantage during the academic season.

The other aspect of training camp is building a community—building a support network to help you achieve your goals for the season.  To help me achieve my goals, I’ve joined up with a number of organizations.  The Corporation for National and Community Service’s offers a wonderful support network for volunteers looking to serve.  Here you’ll find:

-Information to register for free books

-Toolkits to create your own project or event

-Access to the President’s Active Lifestyle Award

So what is this all about? It’s about winning our nation’s youth. We all must join together to tackle summer reading loss and childhood obesity.  Let’s Read. Let’s Move. is a summer initiative; but reading, staying active and healthy is a lifestyle. But as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” and I will be in your huddle--to inspire and push you towards a fit body and a strong mind!

Join me and other volunteers across the country as we answer the President's call to service! Share how you or your organization is joining in the efforts to combat childhood obesity and summer learning loss by posting your service story on our Facebook page or letting us know on Twitter using the #LRLM hashtag.


National Summer Learning Association . Know The Facts - National Summer Learning Association. 11 08 2011.