40 tips for a better life 12 months ago

This entry began by chance.  Spontaneous fortune.  One of those moments where you go back through time and revisit your goals and aspirations written down from countless years ago. 

I started writing journal entries and ideas, collected notes and emails years ago thanks to the encouragement of a few close friends.  Thanks to that subtle nudge to write down the thousands of thoughts and ideas in my life (mostly sports and music), I was able to fully comprehend and build what is AKASPORT.  Starting with a simple mission surrounded by an abundance of programs and events that is moving forward into more than an idea for Keeping Kids Active but into a successful business organization thanks to incredible people.  I am now hooked for life thanks to my notes.  It truly is never too late to start journal writing and building your dream.

So last week with the presidential election and all the unrest and uncertainty that came with it (not to mention Fear for thousands more), I sought out where I was at 8 years ago prior to President Obama’s victory.  And through this particular journal, I found a saved and folded a print out from an email titled 40 tips for a better life 12 months ago.  It was one of those ‘pass it on and good fortune will come’ kind of emails. 

For today’s AKASPORT Blog entry, I thought it was worth sharing.  Let’s move forward from last week’s results and stay positive focusing on self-betterment and love for all.  What is on this list is a simple, timeless recipe for a better life.

Hopefully you’ve made it this far…if so, thanks for reading!

40 tips for a better life 12 months ago(timeless...from 2008)

  1. 10-30 minute walk every day.  And while you walk, smile.  It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.  (Dated with a :))
  4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to ___ today.’
  5. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
  6. Play more games and read more books than you did 2007.
  7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi and prayer.  They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  9. Dream more while you are awake.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  11. Drink green tea and plenty of water.  Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.  (*Revisit Breakfast and Lunch research)
  17. Smile and laugh more.   It will keep the energy vampires away.
  18. Life isn’t fair…but it’s still good.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  20. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  21. You don’t have to win every argument.  Agree to (!) disagree.
  22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  23. Don’t compare your life to others’.  You have NO idea what their journey is all about.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:  ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  26. Forgive everyone for everything.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. God heals almost everything.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends will.  Stay in touch!
  31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  32. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  33. The best is yet to come.
  34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  35. Do the right thing!
  36. Call your family often.  (Or email them!!!)
  37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:  I am thankful for _____.  Today I accomplished _______
  38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  39. Enjoy the ride.  Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass.  You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
  40. Please forward this to everyone you care about.  (Classic 2008)

Let me know if you remember this one. 
Let me know what you would add to this and for talking points, considering this piece is timeless, what details did you catch that could be updated? 
Or which ones hit closest to home and are your favorites?

Or if you know where this came from and who wrote it, please let me know.  Spread it round!

Thanks for taking the time.  What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us.  Here’s wishing you all the best, TODAY and EVERY DAY, EACH DAY, TAKE ONE AT A TIME TOWARDS A BETTER TOMORROW.  All the best,  CS

2016 AKA Summer Wrap

What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us.  And when we bring what is within, out in to the world...Miracles Happen!


2016 AKA All Sports Camp - Unforgettable! 
(be sure to see the AKA Summer video at the bottom)

We had an incredible summer.  We really did.  For me, personally, what comes to mind is the pace at which AKA programs move, how quickly the summers go and how much these kids are able to play and grow. 

As I've said before, AKA is not for everyone (though I wish it were) so I will not stop until I can provide it in a comfortable setting for everyone.  I believe sport is and forever will be the perfect vehicle to promote active lifestyles, provide life long memories and to teach so many of life's important lessons.

AKA summers are intense in pace and jam packed with activity for all who take part. Through the countless hours of instruction, games and making new friends, my goal remains to keep everyone safe, everyone active and above all everyone having fun!  (did I mention the video below?!)


Throughout the 2016 AKA summer, many mastered the cartwheel, many broke wooden boards, we all conquered the upper deck of Target Field and we made countless friendships with kids and staff.  We all took part in the Summer Olympics, 14 theme sports and countless games and exercises.  The daily amount of physical activity averaged over 8.75 hours for a total of 337 participants!

I cannot thank our partners enough...from Healthy Bites with our meals to our field trip vendors, our outside sports instructors to our sponsors.  We could not do this without you.  And of course, thank you Parents and Staff... your enthusiasm and mentorship for these kids is everything! 

As the 2017 AKA All Sports registration period is just around the corner (November 1 for Holiday Early Birds), I am excited to say that we will be adding more AKA locations.  There is an enormous vision for AKASPORT through All Sports Camps, After School programs, community offerings and charitable work.  A lot of work ahead...but in the meantime, again, thank you all for taking part in AKASPORT programs.  All the best, CS

Q&A with National Dizzy and Balance Center: Concussions- Causes, Treatment and Myths

This summer AKA has been partnering with National Dizzy and Balance Center to learn more about their approach to sport injury treatment. Lauren Kijewski, Certified Athletic Trainer, works with patients of all ages and abilities on dizzy and balance disorders. Her specialty, however, is youth athletes. She is currently the Athletic Trainer at several metro schools and represents NDBC at events such as the MN Hockey tournament.

We asked Lauren to share information on concussions with us so we can understand the symptoms and treatments if a concussion should occur.  Here are some common questions that Lauren and her team receive about concussion prevention, treatment and common myths.


What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury.  

Source: Scienceleadership.org

Source: Scienceleadership.org

What is the most common cause of concussion?

Any type of fall. That includes kids falling off playground equipment, while running or during sports games. They don't always occur during high impact activities- concussions can really happen at any time and can occur with any movement or jostling of the head as in whiplash injuries (front to back) or rotational force (side to side).


Which sports have the highest rates of concussions in athletes?

There are different statistics available that can vary by age group and location, but Football, Soccer and Hockey rank among the highest because an athlete can sustain injury from collisions with other players, impact or falls.

What is the best way to prevent a concussion?

There is really no way to prevent all concussions. It is important to wear proper gear when playing a sport, but because a concussion can result from any type of impact to the brain, injuries can still occur.

What are the most common symptoms of concussion?

Symptoms usually fall into four categories:

  1. Thinking/Remembering (difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating, difficulty remembering new information)

  2. Physical (headache, blurred vision, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, balance problems, sensitivity to light or noise, having no energy)
  3. Emotional/Mood (Irritability, sadness, nervousness or anxiety)
  4. Sleep (More or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep)


How is a concussion diagnosed?

There isn't a "test" for concussions, but typically an evaluation at an emergency room will include basic neurological tests and may include neuroimaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan. A concussion does not cause structural injury to the brain, so these scans are used primarily to rule out a more serious injury, especially bleeding inside the skull. An evaluation done immediately following a potential concussion would include an interview of the athlete to check for loss of memory or consciousness, an evaluation using a SCAT (Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool) to check symptoms, attention, memory, balance and coordination. Finally there may be an examination to test strength, reflexes, coordination, mental status and other neurological functions.


There is a lot of information about concussions that some claim to be myths. Can you tell us if this information is true?

- A concussion only occurs when a person is knocked unconscious.

False. The American Academy of Neurology defines concussion as a "trauma- induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve a loss of consciousness". Only about 10% of concussions involve loss of consciousness.

- If someone has a concussion, do not let them sleep.

False. If the person is tired, let them rest! Their brain needs to heal. The exception to this rule is if the person is showing other signs- extreme fatigue, vomiting, not acting like themselves. In that case, it is best to seek emergency care to ensure there are no other internal injuries.

- A concussion takes two weeks to heal.

True and False. All concussions are different so there is not one time frame to know you have healed properly. Most concussions do resolve in 7-10 days with proper treatment. When symptoms do not resolve within 30 days, post concussive syndrome is usually diagnosed, and in most cases a specialty concussion clinic like NDBC is needed to properly evaluate and design an appropriate treatment plan. Untreated post concussive syndrome can affect memory, physical and emotional functioning for many months to years post injury. Children and teenagers actually recover more slowly due to their developing brain. They are also more prone to complications from concussion.

- It is not safe to give a person that may have a concussion over the counter headache medicine.

True and False. After a concussion is sustained, you do not want to give your athlete any OTC medication that is a blood thinner, such as Advil or Ibuprofen. Parents ask “Can I just give him Advil to make his headache go away?” The answer is NO. These medications will restrict the blood flow to the brain and hide the true symptoms of the concussion. There are a few OTC medications that are acceptable to give your athlete after 24-48 hours of sustained concussion if his/her headache is intolerable. In this case, taking your athlete in for an evaluation is highly recommended.  It is very important to consult your physician on proper recommendations before administering any medication.

- An athlete who has had one concussion is more likely to have another than an athlete who hasn't been concussed.

True. Once a person has had one concussion, the threshold for sustaining another concussion is lowered. Also, if a player sustains another blow before he or she is fully recovered the symptoms can be worse and it may take longer to recover.


Source: ImPact

NDBC recommends Baseline Concussion Testing for youth athletes. Why is this?

All Concussions are unique and need to be treated differently. Baseline Concussion Testing allows us to test multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes including attention span, working memory, attention time, reaction time, and problem solving. Impact testing helps providers make better return to play decisions, helping to prevent secondary impact syndrome and post concussive syndrome. NDBC uses these Baseline tests if an injury occurs to effectively plan individualized rehabilitation programs post injury to ensure health return to activity.

Think of Baseline testing like insurance for your brain. You hope you don't need it (that means an accident has occurred), but if you do need it, the recovery process is much easier. Then think that this is your brain- you can't get a new one and a traumatic injury can really impact your quality of life. It's our goal to get you back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

Baseline Concussion Testing Opportunities

If you are interested in baseline concussion testing there are two upcoming opportunities for AKA families at a reduced rate of $10 for children age 10 and up (regularly $50).

  • Saturday, August 13th, 9am-12pm: Edina NDBC Clinic (6700 France Ave S Suite 300 Edina MN 55435)
  • Saturday, Sept.10, 9am-12pm: Edina NDBC Clinic (6700 France Ave S Suite 300 Edina MN 55435)

Email Lauren at laurenk@stopdizziness.com for more information and to sign up!  

Learn more about NDBC and baseline concussion testing



Mid Summer Review & Upcoming AKA Events!

We are off to a great start this year at the All Sport Camp- already half way through! AKA keeps kids active every day, but we want the whole family to get out, be active and enjoy life! That's why we are adding more events just for our AKA families- here are some you won't want to miss! 

Friday, 7/29- Parent's Night Out!

Summer can be crazy and while we love family time, sometimes mom and dad just need a night off. We are hosting a Parent's Night Out on 7/29 so you can bring your AKA kids (and their friends) to hang out at NSC for a movie on the projection screen (HUGE!), pizza, games and a night of fun. 

We understand this could be a long day for the kids that are already attending camp so this won't be as active as our camp hours. Just a night for kids to be kids in a safe place. 

  • Event held at National Sports Center- Rinks 7/8 from 6-10pm
  • Drop off and pick up any time during the evening; Pizza will arrive at 7pm!
  • $30 per child or $25 when you register two or more (sibling or bring a friend!) 
  • Limited to kids age (going into) 1st grade through 9th grade

Register Here! 


Parent's at our NSC site drive past it all the time- the Velodrome. Many of the kids (and parents!) may not even know what it is so we want to introduce you to this exciting sport of Velodrome Bike Racing! These track bikes have one gear and no breaks- the perfect combination for extreme speeds and crashes.

Join us for Thursday Night Lights to watch the fast paced excitement. There will be several racing groups and interactive games with a chance to win prizes from Velodrome sponsors! There is a concession stand so you can make a night of it with your AKA friends. All ages are welcome- bring the whole family! Races begin at 7pm!

Learn more about the Velodrome and this amazing sport at velodrome.nscsports.org

Let us know you are coming on our Facebook Event page

Wednesday, 8/17- Community Appreciation Event!

It's that time of year again! Join us for the 5th Annual Community Appreciation Event at the National Sports Center! Come out for dinner provided by Healthy Bites, enjoy music from the great DJ Deanomite, compete in games against your kids & coaches, and more! 

This event means so much to the AKA staff and campers. Its our chance to say Thank You for a great summer, give parents a chance to have some fun with us and help transition the kids back to the school year.

We want our families to have some fun being active together so everything at this event is provided free of charge with exception to our Fundraising Dunk Tank and Basketball Free Throw Competition. AKASPORT still operates as a nonprofit organization so these extra funds allow us to further our mission of Keeping Kids Well Rounded Through Sports by bringing in additional sports and activities and improve upon our existing programs. 

The event will be held outdoors of Rink 7/8 at our NSC site and will run from 4-7pm. (Food will be available until 6pm). 

No need to register- just show up!

We couldn't do this without your support!

We hope you will join us for these events!



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

We're not stopping anytime soon!


You've all heard from us, now let's hear from YOU!  Established as a nonprofit organization for the people and communities of Minnesota, AKASPORT values everything you do actively!

Here is your chance - kids, families and partner organizations - to submit videos and editorial pieces that display active living.

Whether that be sports, recreation, fitness and health achievements.... let's go!  Submit to info@akasport.org.  Share away!

We hope you like the new look and flow website.  Keep the dreams alive and the bodies moving.  Keeping Kids and Families Active through Sport.  #theAKAway