When I was invited to attend the Kentucky Department of Education's KY SHAPE Cadre at Lake Cumberland State Park, I was excited. I admit to being anxious during my drive, because I did not know what to expect or how I would relate to the Cadre members and the material being covered since I am not from a teaching background.
On the first morning, during introductions, I not only had the opportunity to witness being among the best of the best in Kentucky’s health and physical educators, I listened to their stories and genuine concerns for the futures of their students, and student’s health. There was an overwhelming concern of how nutrition, health, sex and physical education are diminishing from our institutions and how it affects the youth and their futures in the state of Kentucky.
It was apparent to me through discussions, and during group activities that this was not just a job. These cadre members were passionate about learning how to gain support from their principals, school districts and parents on improving nutrition, health and the physical conditions of their students. The optimism of “what could be” was inspiring. Their focus on how it could be done showed their individual level of commitment to their districts.
The use of tobacco in schools was not surprising; however the methods of how it is used and its affects were eye opening to me. During Elizabeth Hoagland’s presentation, I learned that teachers are now faced with the challenge of the students using e-cigarettes for tobacco and marijuana use in the classroom.
I think that the combined efforts of the KY SHAPE Cadre members will greatly impact the nutrition, health, sex, and physical education systems administered through Kentucky’s educational institutions. I am proud to have been a part of its’ conception.