Thursday, July 12, 2018
By Brian Foley, Web Content Specialist
This week, Milwaukee Public Schools interim superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley visited three Milwaukee Recreation community centers – Gaenslen, North Division, and Riverside – to promote healthy lifestyles, personal development, and academic achievement throughout the summer.
Posley met with teachers, staff, coaches, students, and parents at each site and emphasized the value of these programs.
“This is a continuation of the classroom,” Posley said of the available recreational activities. “It’s all about focus, staying on task, and working together as a team. These are life skills.”
Posley spread his message all over North Division, from the wood pin bowling lanes at the nearby Franklin Square playground to the coaches at the tennis courts to the athletes at Gilbert Brown’s Summer Youth Football Camp.
“Sports are your ticket to anywhere you want to go in life,” Posley – the former quarterbacks coach at North Division High School – said to the huddle of football players at the camp. “You are doing something this summer that is going to benefit you [forever].”
Brown, a Super Bowl champion and 10-year-pro with the Green Bay Packers, underlined Posley’s statement, saying he would not have had his same opportunities in life without the NFL, but the first step to playing football was “keeping his grades up in the classroom.”
Posley also mingled with students at Riverside during the Community Learning Centers’ Summer EXCEL program (Exciting Camps for Enrichment and Learning). Milwaukee Recreation hosts various EXCEL classes, but during Posley’s visit to Riverside, the students were specifically engaged in a culinary session, with three teams of students cooking different chicken dishes, as well as brownies for dessert.
At Gaenslen, Posley walked through Club Rec., which is a six-week Therapeutic Recreation summer program tasked with improving the quality of life for children with disabilities. Staff members help participants across different areas, including music, art, aquatics, and technology. Posley conversed with several children, families, and class leaders at the site. In one class, students and staff were making their own stress balls, while kids in another room were showing off their dance moves to various pop tunes. Both techniques are designed to help reduce the children’s tension and stress, and give families an effective blueprint to help the kids outside of Club Rec.
Embracing recreation is nothing new for Posley, who spent much of his youth in church basketball leagues and involved with projects at 4-H. Posley even flashed some of his childhood skills at the Franklin Square wood pin bowling lane when he knocked off Rico, the playground’s reigning champion. Posley vowed to return to Franklin Square to defend his title, because he knows first-hand how these recreational activities positively affect students and families inside and outside the classroom.
“All of these programs lead to academic success,” Posley said. “It all [involves] focus, perseverance, work ethic, grit, and determination.”