MPSSAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference Aims to Promote Good Decision Making

400 student-athletes athletes from across the state of Maryland went to North County High School today to attend the MPSSAA's Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. Sponsored by the Allstate Foundation and DavCo Restaurants, which has more than 150 Wendy's restaurants in the DMV area, the summit was hoping to educate the student-athletes on how to be strong leaders in their schools.

"We're trying to continue to build leadership capacity in our students from around the state," said Michael Duffy, athletic director for Howard High School and Chair of the MPSSAA Student Leadership Committee. "We're giving them opportunities to deal with different experiences, meet different people and share ideas so that they can take it back to their schools to create overall better programs from a student perspective."

The student-athletes got to listen to two nationally recognized motivational guest speakers: Dr. Greg Dale, Professor of Sport Psychology and Sport Ethics at Duke University and Rayna DuBose, a former Maryland high school athlete from Oakland Mills High School.

"They're going to give the students two very different, but great, perspectives and be enlightening for them," said Duffy. "The MPSSAA is very excited to have both of them here with us today."

One activity the student athletes got to partake in was the texting/drinking while driving simulator. Provided by the Allstate Foundation, the simulator was very interactive, having the students sit behind the wheel of a parked car with special glasses over their eyes. The glasses were hooked up to a computer, as was the wheel of the car the students were sitting in. The computer would simulate the difficulty of attempting to drive while impaired, which the students would see for themselves as they tried to drive themselves through the simulation. Despite not being athletics oriented, the exercise was used to promote how important it is to make good decisions at all times.

"Leadership is not restricted to athletics. Smart decision making is everything. This is about promoting positive life decisions," said Duffy. "While we look from an athletics perspective what we are trying to accomplish is having students grow and become better people."

Along with the lectures and the simulator, the student-athletes got to engage in different activities and workshops so that they could work together and learn from each other. The students took part in workshops which ranged from a captain's course, hazing, social media, group dynamics, and team building. The students also got to take part in a trivia game show, which had questions involving driving safety, school athletics and pop culture. Overall, it made for an informative day for the student-athletes.

"I'm excited about the opportunity for the kids to get to meet new people," said Duffy. "We're hoping the students think of things that maybe they haven't thought of before, and to go a little out of their comfort zones to try to grow so that they can expand their leadership potential."011006
August 5th, 2015By: Wick Eisenberg

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