Hillcrest High School, Simpsonville SC
Recently our wrestling team used the Coaching Boys Into Men card series to help teach our wrestlers through some of the pitfalls they will experience all throughout high school. My assistant coaches and I have spoken with our wrestlers throughout the years about tough situations that they will face off the mat and how to handle them. We were always looking for something to help guide us as coaches through some of the difficult topics that we are faced with and maybe didn’t have the best answer or know how to respond.
After talking with our Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Elizabeth House, she set us up with Omar Jalil a REP Prevention Coordinator from Safe Harbor. We have had Safe Harbor in our Freshman Success classes years ago with the Megan Project and it was always a positive experience for me and my students. Even some of the previous speakers from Safe Harbor did lessons with our students about social media behavior, proper interactions with other students, and how to be respectful of others and their life choices. I was sure that Safe Harbor would have some great ideas to help us make our discussions with our wrestling team lasting and meaningful.
Omar came up to the high school one day to meet with me sat and started walking me through step by step the Coaching Boys into Men card series as well as the other options that were available. The card series stood out to me, as a way to give our kids specific examples that they have heard from classmates, seen first hand, or even experienced themselves in school. I really thought the weekly discussions and activities in the card series about relationships, responsibility, and being respectful were great ways to get my kids to open up and talk. Our older kids were very receptive to the questions and even helped explain some of the situations they have had personal experience with. They discussed what they have gone through and spoke directly to our younger wrestlers about being responsible, respectful, and how to act in a relationship.
The cards are easy to use, breaking down situations and moments all of our athletes experience. The questions were easy enough for them to answer and they provide discussion points to take it to the next level with my wrestlers. Each week our kids were faced with a new scenario that would ask them to be accountable to themselves and their teammates. It would encourage them to act appropriately on the mat, in the classroom, and out in the real world. Some topics were ones that I have seen our wrestlers face over the years and others are more recent headline grabbers in the news about social media and the new digital age. Many of our kids were unaware that their social media never goes away and it made many of them reflect on what they have posted.
Our wrestlers are still growing and learning everyday of middle school and high school careers. However, they are getting to a point in their lives where a wrong decision can affect them for a long time. I want to make sure my kids are exposed to the right ideals, great morals and understand how to treat others in this world. We want them not only to be outstanding wrestlers but great students and one day amazing fathers and outstanding husbands. We will continue to use the Coaching Boys Into Men cards and program as well as other tools to help our kids continue to be successful long after high school.