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Friday, 3 May 2013

AAHPERD Reflection

“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

        Some of the most successful people in the world know what makes them happy, why it makes them happy and how their purposeful actions lead to purposeful results. 
From April 21st- April 28th I had an amazing opportunity to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to actively participate in America’s yearly AAHPERD 2013 convention. 
Having planned months in advance, managing my internship for graduate degree completion and sustaining my role as a personal trainer, I was able to piece together time and funding to be a part of something larger than myself. As the only Canadian student attending this convention, I was able to share in the experience with eleven Nova Scotians who represented TAPHE (Teacher’s Association for Physical & Health Education). Within this generous mix of leaders, I was able to network and share ideas with these amazing educators, consultants and administrators from across the province. Seen as family rather than co workers, I was welcomed and appreciated with open arms.
From cooperative learning strategies in the gymnasium to looking at the Americans with Disabilities Act in American fitness facilities, there was much information to gather and bring back to Canada. As a student with roots in rural NS, I was awestruck by the amount of educational based content and extensive tools which were presented. Professional development can be vast and can range from virtually anything. However, AAHPERD offered many options to consider if you wanted to focus on coaching, training or teaching. 
Through my role within, I am actively involved in weekly #PEchats whereby brilliant, cutting-edge content is posted and discussed online among movement specialists from around the world. Having invested ‘online time’ with these individuals, AAHPERD provided me the opportunity to formally meet these individuals through their presentations and conversations both during and after their sessions. I was sure to thank each of these individuals for their investment of time in developing my personal pedagogy.
   It is important for me to highlight how successful these individuals have been in their Physical & Health Education professions. 

Paty Kestell: 2013 American Elementary Teacher of The Year
Jo Bailey: President of Wisconsin Health & PE (WHPE) & 2013 American Teacher of The Year nominee
Crystal Gorwitz: Author and former president of Wisconsin Health & PE (WHPE) 
Dr. Ash Casey: Professor at the University of Bedfordshire in the U.K,
Adam Metcalf: who was the 2011 IAAHPERD Young Professional Teacher of the year.
During AAHPERD 2013 I was also fortunate enough to attend a keynote address by author and successful sport psychologist Jim Lair. Jim inspired the 300+ leaders in the room to become the advocates for change and to not be afraid of feelings of inadequacy. He reminded me that every action should serve as purposeful and that as educators and literacy ambassadors, I need to remain authentically virtuous. He inspired me to live out my dreams by aligning my passion with my profession through my carefully orchestrated mission statement. 
Within this content and knowledge gained, I was also able to assist my TAPHE peers in developing multiple social media platforms for professional development. With competencies in informational highways such as twitter and youtube, I am confident that TAPHE will produce extensive and appropriately effective online professional development for teachers as they will have much to offer after AAHPERD 2013.
As I stated in the beginning of this vignette, it is very important to remind ourselves why we do what we do and how our purposeful actions lead to student success, career success and personal happiness. We define ourselves by our purposeful actions and the action in attending AAHPERD 2013 in Charlotte was a truly defining week-long learning adventure. My hopes, dreams, aspirations and motivations were refined at this convention and I am ecstatic about where my teaching, coaching and training career will take me in looking forward. 
One thing which will remain with me will be the amazing people through which the AAHPERD 2013 experience brought into my life. I am thankful to have had such a career launching opportunity alongside the members of TAPHE. Opportunities such as this are available all over the world. This fall, Manitoba will be hosting the national MPETA (AAHPERD equivalent) conference which will provide even more significant learning opportunities. In Nova Scotia, TAPHE will also be hosting a provincial conference on Oct 25th in Halifax, NS.
Students, take advantage of any traveling and learning opportunity that you can find. To everyone who is not a student; seek out board funding, business funding and/or any alternative ways of funding and seize the opportunity to travel and gain professional development within your career interest. I have already secured funding and am planning to attend AAHPERD 2014 in St.Louis and AAHPERD 2015 in Seatle. If you are a physical educator, personal trainer or a coach, I look forward to seeing you at the next AAHPERD conference and at the MPETA conference this fall!

Ryan Fahey
Physical & Health Education Specialist
B.A Human Kinetics
CPTN Canada
canfitpro FIS, PTS

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