AKA Summer 2018 - Another Camp Season in the Books

People often ask me what I do outside of June - July - August, the most intensive, yet rewarding schedule of my year as the AKA Summer All Sports Camp remain as the heart and soul of AKASPORT.

Well for starters, September is my month to breathe, to wrap up loose ends and to review what went well and what did not throughout the AKA Summer. In October we put together the vision and the details for the following year (as well as launch our seasonal AKA After School and Charitable Giving programs) and November through May we get back to work in filling programs and boosting all of those people, Staff and Partners, who make AKA all work.

Having two solid facilities this Summer, a strong staff from top to bottom and hundreds of amazing kids!, I must say that AKA Summer 2018 was a great success!

Highlights and Low-lights from the 2018 Summer AKA All Sports Camp Season:

  • Near Perfect Summer Weather! Unlike 2017, this year I only had to move around a couple schedules or events based on the weather. Not too hot, not too rainy, two thumbs up!

  • Two successful locations…thank you Centennial Sports Arena & the National Sports Center! Say what you want, these facilities make this program work, both inside and out! Hope to continue for years to come!

  • Successful Trips to NEW Field Trip PartnersUrban Air Trampoline Park & UofMN Rec. Center Tour (AKA NSC) - Always seeking new Trips, Twin Cities!

  • And Interesting / Unusual Trips to others…

    • Target Field vs. the Boston Red Sox - It’s been a tough year for the Twins and our trip to Target Field in late June played consistent with that.

    • Blue Lips Bunker Beach - Kids stayed strong on an unusually chilly day at our favorite Water Park.

    • Taylor’s Falls Canoe Trips - High River! AKA Centennial rerouted their trip to the Lakes Beach in Blaine (success) do to unusually high water on the St. Croix for our Canoe Trip. AKA Blaine got lucky in mid August.

  • Incredible Partners and Supporters! Just Tremendous!

    • Captain Jack and his work with our AKA Archery weeks!

    • Healthy Bites - 4 summers of tasty meals!

    • JamHops! - Could not have asked for a better partnership…hard work, very professional and full of new activities for AKA! Thank you!

We are not perfect, no. But we do everything in our power to get there. AKA was founded on the basis of keeping kids active and well rounded through a variety of sports and recreation. Yet as I reflect on each and every day of this summer, and I’ve said this before, I am most proud of all the social connections that take place with these kids. Sport is a tremendous vehicle to get kids (and adults) together, to enjoy and to learn from each other’s company each and every minute they can. Issues arise and emotions at times go heavy. But what we need to see more clearly is that overall, sport (and free play) teaches kids how to adapt to one another, to learn life skills and ultimately, more so later in life, allows kids and people to hopefully forget about the stresses of the world. We see that every day at AKA… so thanks for another successful, extremely active summer!

And contrary to popular opinion and personal wishful thinking, I do actually do a ton of AKA work outside of the summer months (as well as my year round duties as the Youth Director of a large local soccer Club). AKA will be busy again in no time. Don’t you worry, we keep at it as there’s always room to improve and new ideas to expand.

I hope you are all off to a spectacular new school year. I wish you All the Best, CS

From within the Silence

From within the Silence ... some long overdue Spring Cleaning!

Don't read this until you've completed your day's Goal, planted a tree or completed a 2 mile hike... whichever comes first.  Happy Hump Day.

10 years ago, certainly before most people had smartphones and information was not a Siri away, I was taught, based on data marketing research, that Thursdays at 1:05pm was the best time to send out a newsletter or blog, if wanting to achieve maximum viewership.  I'm curious to know what data says these days but no matter, as my italicized sub heading to this new chapter for the #AKAWay blog offers, Don't read this until you are good and ready!

Hope you are all doing swimmingly, ready for 2018 to turn blue and green, not brown and 6 feet deep in white.  This month's blog is my Spring Cleaning edition...seeking to trim the fat as well as provide some insight on what works.  Don't hesitate to comment below!

Winter & Spring BOOKS finished/reread/in the process
Born to Run/Outliers/E-Myth Revisited/The Social Animal.  (Kudos to Herr Ripps, Smokey and Senior Vogel for their recommendations!)  Eager to hear what you are reading or what books the AKA world should read next!  Let me know in the comments below!

From Within the Silence
Not to get too deep or go too extreme into the subconscious mind discussion (though I cannot speak more highly of regular meditation!) but I want to acknowledge a trip I took this past Winter and the impact it made on what seemed like the longest Winter in years.  Here is what it did for me and can do for you! 

Cactus to Clouds Trail, Palm Springs, CA.  Forced to stop a couple thousand feet short but we'll get it sometime soon.  (Aerial Tram back down in blue)  Pick any spot on the line and pure bliss!

Cactus to Clouds Trail, Palm Springs, CA.  Forced to stop a couple thousand feet short but we'll get it sometime soon.  (Aerial Tram back down in blue)  Pick any spot on the line and pure bliss!

Only a 48 hour trip.  I packed my running shoes, a pair of shorts and my toothbrush, (Travelin' Light) and flew out to visit my brother Greg who was attending a conference in Palm Springs, California.

Tuesday - 5:30am MSP depart, landed/satellite work/beered/ate/slept
Wednesday - Up at 4:00am, started ascending (520 feet above sea level) the #CactustoClouds hike at 4:30am and reached close to 8,500/9,000 feet in 6.5 hours. Got turned around because of icy conditions so we did not make it to the San Jacinto Peak (10,834 feet). #NextyearGoals!
Thursday - 4:30am Palm Springs depart, back in MSP at 11:00am.
Okay...52 hours...NBD

From the Palm Springs Notes: 

To find a peace of mind, in the middle of a Minnesota Winter, book a 48 hour trip!  I'm not talking about a 7 day family trip to Orlando or Cancun, I'm talking you, yes, you workaholic/moms/dads/college students...we're talking 1 or 2 people max...booking a cheap flight to some mountain or out in nowhere National Park and get out there...for 48 hours...when the stress of MN grey and cold/Nuclear Media/Mass Shootings/Sports Hot & COLD/work piling up, yes, call me an #EscapeArtist/GRIND hits heavy...take a trip to the stillness and seek the pure silence and nothingness of the air, my God what it does for the mind (and body)!

You wouldn't believe how quiet it was on this trail.  You have no excuse to not do this for yourself..... all I can hope is that everyone tries this out annually, to some affect, and get to that place of no interruption. From within the Silence!

Hard work matters ... period .. deploy it on what matters to you .. parenting, work, your company your friends etc. Your Actions have to map to your ambitions. Kudos to @GaryVee , content #CRUSHIT master, who got me hooked!!

Motivation 2.018... Since Fall, I have thankfully found a go-to morning routine with motivational videos and speeches on YouTube.  A perfect alternative to my typical Jam band alarm clock or when in need of background work tunes/banter, I encourage you to try some out if you're looking for that extra boost.  Many repeat the same messages of "Just Do", "Surround yourself with positive people" and so forth and so forth but some really catch you at the right time and inspire you.  Try out @GaryVee youtube vids (right) or Jack Canfield's positive Law of Attraction. Certainly helped (earbuds) get me through all the shoveling this winter.  Highly suggested and I am always open to hear what videos you are motivated by!

earth day 2018.jpg

Earth Day... this place is Incredible. 
Please continue to do everything in your power to keep our Blue Planet intact and teach these kids of all that it is worth.  Thank you!

The Summer Staff, AKA Renegades I like to say, are in place!  There are 57 of us now in place, spread across 5 schools for the Spring AKA Afterschool programs and multiple sites for the 13th Annual AKA All Sports Summer.

AKA Tykes notice!  As we re-engage in AKA Tykes programming (ages 3-5), I want the AKA philosophy to be clear.  As found on the AKA Afterschool page ...

Our (AKA) youth programs generally start,only, by the time kids are through kindergarten as our philosophy in childhood development is that kids before the age of 6 should learn in unstructured, parent guided activities.  However, we understand the culture of today and the demand for more active programming for younger ages.  We are more than happy to assist and provide such All Sports programming yet we ask that you as parents take part in these AKA Tykes activities with your children.  We invite and strongly encourage you to participate in the entire class if you are interested and able.

I mean come on... how can you say No.  Have fun and keep it light...they're not Tykes for long!

I mean come on... how can you say No.  Have fun and keep it light...they're not Tykes for long!

The bottom line is this. 

Kids, (Humans!), have limited time in this world to discover life as worry free, agenda free and Free of Structure!  I highly encourage families to wait to enroll until they have completed kindergarten, however again, I understand the demand for active programming in today's fast moving society. 

We at AKASPORT are here to keep sports fun and combat the current stress of the Youth Sports culture.

And finally, in this Spring Cleaning edition...

"What is Success? 
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even on life has breathed easier because you have lived; 

That is to have succeeded"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Find your passion and Commit your entire Life to a Dream!  And as my Ishayan Meditation teachers, Uma and Srikari encourage from within the silence, "Enjoy, explore, take nothing seriously.  It's all going to work out perfectly."

Thanks for stopping by. 
Now keeping getting after those Goals and keep those kids busy!


Football Season officially over... where to go from here?!

February 4 - Time to take down the Christmas Tree edition... Post Super Bowl Reaction!

Well there you have it, No more Football.  We have officially reached the end of the Holiday Season.  That's at least my sport-centric take on things. 

This Blog was intended to be posted a week ago but as anxious as you all were to read my Blog, uh cough uh, deep down I knew you could wait.  Heck, we just hosted one the coolest (literally) Super Bowls in history.  So much to do in the Twin Cities between downtown Minneapolis Nicollet Mall events and music, with the star studded media friendly (upgraded) Mall of Hysteria, even in downtown St. Paul with the Winter Carnival and events at the Xcel.  And though I did not get a Super Bowl ticket into the Purple Palace, I was fortunate to take in a lot of all the festivities.  Here's a quality statistical Super Bowl by the Numbers recap provided by Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.  Hats off to the SBLII Committee and to the thousands of volunteers and sponsors!  The North was certainly Bold last week...  Well done #Minnesota Proud!


So now we go!  Moving on, inspired by the local spectacle, what have we learned from these past 5 months of football?


Well unless you took a year off and lived on a remote island in the South Pacific, you'd know that this has been a trying year for football.  And I won't even attempt to get into the 'Take a Knee' platform used by players (and Presidents) to magnify the issues of inequality.  I tend to focus on the state of health of sport, and in this case football, as a spectator, a fan and as a promoter of active sports.  

Listen, I absolutely love football.  I, like most sports guys, truly don't know what I would do without it.  I most certainly devote my Sundays to the NFL over 5 months each year and my Monday moods have been known to be dictated by the Packer's result the day before.  That said, Football, no matter how far entrenched in negativity, thanks to the media, and the unmistakable safety concerns, cannot and will not go away!!  Let's better educate and correct the culture of football across the board.  Here are the issues we see most prevalent and here are some ways to fix and support America's game.

Growing concern of Concussions
Whether it's pop star sensation Justin Timberlake openly responding, pre Super Bowl, to say he wouldn't let his kids play tackle football, Brett Favre in 2014 (video below) steering people from playing altogether!, or your family pediatrician preaching to the chorus, we know that there is growing concern.  And that awareness and coverage is tremendous.  Rules are being changed each year at every level from youth through the pros, to make football more safe, namely by attempting to minimize the amount of times kids and adults get hit in the head.  We just need to be clear on what we want in sport, especially as we look over our kids, and steer them into making smart decisions.

rodgers injury.jpg

Growing concern for Football Injuries
We know that there remain risks in EVERY sport we choose as kids and as adults.  (if anyone has a new hamstring to lend out, email me :))  Ligaments tears, strains and sprains, broken bones and gashes that will keep you on your couch instead of going to Homecoming.  Football certainly takes the brunt of this conversation and for good 'intensive' reason.  But we love football... albeit Bigger, STRONGER, FASTER, so are the times. So let's figure it out and do football smarter! 
(#BanHelmetsandPads!...  There, I said it.)



"No other place where a young man is held to a higher standard"
Now I am not a football expert nor did I ever play organized football as a kid.  So take all of this for what its worth.

New York Times writer, Ken Belson, added a couple articles prior to the Super Bowl that I thought provoked some sense worthy understanding of Youth Football participation.  I think the most noteworthy is his piece,  True Believers Circle the Wagons and Insist that the Sport is Fine.


In Belson's piece he quotes the President of the Green Bay Packers, Mark Murphy, saying, "...it is a mistake to focus solely on the risks associated with football and not to focus on the tremendous benefits."

John Harbaugh and several other top tier coaches and player's have also been more vocal of the positive influence for football.  "I believe there’s practically no other place where a young man is held to a higher standard." ... "Football is hard. It’s tough. It demands discipline. It teaches obedience. It builds character", say Harbaugh.

I have a ton of close friends and acquaintances who I can guarantee would regard their High School and College football career as a tremendous reason for character and discipline in their lives and now they are successful business owners, teachers and leaders in communities across the Midwest.  

Where do we go from here?! 
The bottom line is we need to restore the safety and the culture around youth football and with that we restore the fun.

While concerning football safety and injury research is finding itself more and more on the front page of the paper and as State Legislators are addressing the issue by barring youth tackle football under the age of 12 years old, no one body has come up with a solid solution to keep participation in Football up and running (safe!). 

The NFL, while deflecting and addressing a wide variety of other issues, is getting closer to going full steam with youth Flag Football but truly, what's the hang up? 

Despite Flag Football getting the 'NOT COOL' label by its rough and tough fully padded peers, we need to fix this.  Let's hope that the NFL is on it and soon so that Flag Football or Football 7's (check out www.my7on7.com in the Twin Cities) will gain greater popularity in the Midwest and across the country in the coming years. 

If you think about it, there is quite a contradiction going on here.  Pro and College Football has become more and more aerial over the years where Quarterbacks are the superstars and the long pass is the preferred offensive attack.  So why not groom our kids by playing more technical, pass heavy play and steer further away from the thunder booming hits until kids get older?  I know its not that easy but would it hurt to try to get more pass heavy, technical play from our kids?

Always open to discussion and again, if anyone is interested in joining forces with AKASPORT to develop safer solution football leagues or programs for our kids to play, just shoot me a note.  In the meantime, as I always revert back to the way things used to be, have your kids round up the neighbor kids or school friends and go to a park or pick someone's backyard to play.  2 on 2 and 3 on 3 football is a ton of fun with a great deal of creativity and imagination! 

Thanks for reading,



Further Football for Thought...

Top 12 NFL players who wouldn't let their kids play football - 2016

What is a good age to start your child playing Football - Livestrong.com

Percentage and Statistics for Football players and serious injury - Livestrong.com

Goodbye 2017... Hello 2018... AKA Shine a Light edition!

Happy New Year Everybody... Below is a recap of AKASPORT 2017 and on to wishing you all a bright, healthy and fortuitous 2018! 


2017 Community Impact Recap
Active Kids Association of Sport (AKASPORT)

Thank you for supporting Active Kids Association of Sport this year!  We had another wonderful year of summer camps and are well into our 2017-2018 After School Programs.

Our intention this past year was to build and expand on our sports and games curriculum, maintain equipment and train our staff to make these programs educational, enriching and fun! Our goal was to increase the amount of activity youth in our communities achieve each day and encourage active living into adulthood.  We use sport instruction and games to encourage physical activity while building personal skills including leadership, teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship.

Results: Growth & Impact
This past year we were able to open a third summer camp location and reach 59 additional youth bringing our total impact to 373 individual campers ! This is a 16% increase over summer 2016 and we have seen this type of growth or more each year since 2004.  During camp we coached over 18 sports and introduced several new sports and games including gymnastics, dance, handball and track & field events.

We are in between our after school programs for the 2017-2018 school year and have already implemented programs in seven schools and are committed to twelve schools this winter and spring.  We are in constant contact with our school program coordinators to bring requested programs right to them.

AKASPORT would not be successful without our amazing staff and program partners. We are proud that we had 70% of our summer staff return for a second, third or even fourth summer with AKA! Some of our senior staff even interned in other areas of AKA and acted as mentors for some of our after school participants. We have the capacity to bring on even more youth for summer 2018 and cannot wait to extend our reach and see the impact we will make.

While we specialize in keeping kids active, we also want to impact our community in other ways. This year we organized our second Earth Day park clean up, sixth annual Community Appreciation fundraiser event which continues to grow to raise funds and awareness for active programming and we organized our second winter coat drive to support those in need.

Future Planning
As we move into 2018 we are focused on growing our existing programs by filling our new Centennial location to capacity.  Our biggest initiative is expanding our after school and seasonal programs where we know we have the most room to grow and the most kids in need of active and safe programs. We feel confident we will increase participation in both these programs through by the end of the year.

We have two new programs starting in 2018 - AKA Outdoors and AKA Tykes! The AKA Outdoors initiative has been a dream for years and we are ready to put it into action. We will be starting with AKA Archery in January 2018 with the plan to build a catalog of outdoor activity options for our communities. We have been successful keeping kids active through more traditional sports, now it’s time to get the whole family active outdoors!

The AKA Tykes program is a new program for our 3-6 year old age group to introduce our youngest athletes to new sports and games. The purpose behind the Tykes program is to engage kids and parents! with active free play while they build coordination and teamwork. Our goal is to help them develop a love of being physically active as they enter their school age years.

Our committed staff and our continued investment in leadership  is what makes AKASPORT successful and unique compared to other youth programs in the Twin Cities.  To achieve our goals of  growing programs we are focused on educating and empowering our staff through updated staff training and resources.  As our programs continue to expand, we are committed to keeping them consistent, effective and impactful to each family. We plan to bring back a majority of our staff for summer 2018.  We are also working to hire a Director to lead AKA After School. This position will focus solely on engaging more schools and students during the after school hours to help us increase our reach across the Twin Cities.

To further our impact, we will continue our successful community events including park clean ups, winter coat and used sports equipment and apparel drives and our Community Appreciation Event as well as introduce new active family fun!

Thank you!
We hope you will continue to support our mission of keeping kids well rounded through sport! With your support we will continue to reach even more youth and help them achieve a lifelong love of healthy living.

Active Kids Association of Sport (AKASPORT) - 2017 review
Renee Beaman & Chris Schulz


Let us keep close all of the positive memories that keep us smiling and seeking more.  Keep close those we have lost and let us to move forward with compassion and care for everyone out there... Keep active, keep inspired and help spread Peace to all!      ...All the Best, CS

Tax Write Offs ... AKA All Sports Camps Count!

For those of you new (or old) that are wondering if the AKA All Sports Camp counts for summer child care and is eligible for tax credit...the answer is and has always been, yes!  (AKA Tax Id - 03-0545137)  You know who to contact to get your statement if you need. 

Here's some good information from a credible acquaintance.

Day camp costs are eligible for the child-care tax credit and employer-sponsored "flexible spending arrangements" (FSA). 

Many working parents who are sending their younger children to day camp this summer can count on the tax code to help subsidize part of the cost. 

For children under age 13, the cot of day camp is eligible for the child and dependent care tax credit.  Sending a child to day camp is also an eligible expense for employees who are paying child-care expenses through flexible spending arrangements for work. 

Only day camp costs count.  (AKA All Sports Camp approved!)  The cost of sending a child to sleepover camp isn't eligible for either the child tax credit or payment through flexible-spending accounts.

The child - and dependent - care credit covers expenses for the care of children under age 13 (or an incapacitated dependent of any age) while the parents are at work.  Generally, the credit applies to expenses of up to $3,000 a year for the care of one child and up to $4,800 for two or more dependents.

FSAs also provide tax savings.  Any salary set aside in an FSA to pay eligible dependent-care expenses is exempt from income tax and Social Security tax.

If you have any further tax questions, you're better off asking your accountant.  :)  However if you need a statement or anything, be sure to let us know. 

Good luck...  AKASPORT (EIN #03-0545137)

The Numbers tell the story...

Earlier this month, AKASPORT held its first official fundraiser with the AKA Spaghetti Scholarship Dinner (February 4) (thanks Renee Beaman, AKA Events!).  AKASPORT has created FUNDraisers for over a decade with programs, camps and Community Appreciation Events with great success, but make no doubt about it, it is time to get more serious and create truly positive FUNDraisers.

Dean Downs, AKA DJ Deanomite, and some happy dancers at the AKA Spaghetti Scholarship Dinner Event - 2016

Dean Downs, AKA DJ Deanomite, and some happy dancers at the AKA Spaghetti Scholarship Dinner Event - 2016

The first step in creating FUNDraisers is establishing the why and the what are we raising money for.  Quite simply, we have a mission to providing Active programs for more kids and families whether they can or cannot afford such programming.

So to prove my point with numbers and to hopefully grab people's attention, prior to the event, I gathered select statistics from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (see below).  Have a look and feel free to add comments or other glaring statistics you think are relevant to our cause.  

Charlie and Jackson taking aim with Mr. Jack and the AKA Archery Week - 2015

Charlie and Jackson taking aim with Mr. Jack and the AKA Archery Week - 2015

Selected bullets from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (2010-2015 studies)

Physical Activity

  • (2010)  Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computer).Think what that number is up to now with the greater abundance of smart phones, tablets and greater sensationalism of video games!!7
  • (2011)  Nearly one-third of high school students play video or computer games for 3 or more hours on an average school day.24
  • (2015/2016) Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance. Coon Rapids has 48 parks and 40 miles of trails…Bikes!!5
  • (2014)  28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive.23

Nutrition statistics
I don’t even touch this one...leave that to the the Nutrition experts and to Geri and Healthy Bites.  My take on Nutrition is to cut down on sugar and don't eat after 8:00pm if possible.


  • (2011)  Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese.12
  • (2015) For children with disabilities, obesity rates are approximately 38% higher than for children without disabilities. It gets worse for the adult population where obesity rates for adults with disabilities are approximately 57% higher than for adults without disabilities.15
  • (2010) Nearly 45% of children living in poverty are overweight or obese compared with 22% of children living in households with incomes four times the poverty level.16
  • Obesity among children in the United States has remained flat - at around 17% - in 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.25
  • Between 2003 and 2012, obesity among children between 2 and 5 years of age has declined from 14% to 8% - a 43% decrease in just under a decade.25
  • Obesity rates in children 6 to 11 years old have decreased from 18.8% in 2003-2004 to 17.7% in 2011-2012; obesity rates for children 12 to 19 years old have increased from 17.4% to 20.5% in the same time period.25

Human and Financial Costs of Inactivity > Obesity

  • (2012)  Obesity-related illness, including chronic disease, disability, and death, is estimated to carry an annual cost of $190.2 billion.17
  • (2010)  Projections estimate that by 2018, obesity will cost the U.S. 21 percent of our total healthcare costs - $344 billion annually.18
  • (2009)  The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion.26
AKASPORT working out on the floor at Target Center with MN Lynx Basketball Staff - 2013

AKASPORT working out on the floor at Target Center with MN Lynx Basketball Staff - 2013