You made my son do what?

Would you want your son to experience this?

On a cool Friday afternoon in San Diego, CA, 36 high school lacrosse players (9th - 12th) were leisurely stretching out on a well-manicured grassy knoll 300 yards from the Pacific Ocean.

This was the group's final day of tryouts for the JV and Varsity lacrosse team. The participants were told to show up with a t-shirt and running shoes and to be prepared for a 3-hour workout.

Halfway through their stretching routine, two other former Navy SEAL Instructors and I emerged from of our cars and walked over to greet them. This was no ordinary greeting.

Here's how the next four hours unfolded for the group:


Activity: Introduction and (Dis)orientation

With bullhorn in hand, we told the group that the original plan had changed. The 3-hour workout had been extended to a 24-hour Hell Night where they would be tested with a series of mental and physical challenges that would last until the next day. This was not true, but we had to get the athletes...

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10 Reasons to Become an Eagle Scout

My days are spent speaking with high school students across the country about their lives. In particular, about their interests, college admissions strategies, and life ambitions.  It's my passion.

After reviewing (and editing) hundreds of stellar college applications, resumes, personal statements, and college essays, there is one designation that captures the essence of what colleges are looking for in their prospective students - an Eagle Scout.

My job as college counselor and mentor becomes much easier when I'm working with an Eagle Scout. I know what it takes to make it through the program and it is not difficult to help Scouts express these attributes within their college applications.

Some people believe that colleges give disproportionate credit to Eagle Scouts in the admissions process. I beg to differ - and the 10 items below provide more than enough evidence as to why admissions officers sit up straighter in their chairs when reading the applications of Eagle Scouts.

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Role-Play with Your Kids

Role-playing can be a great way to teach kids how to deal with uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) situations.

For instance, consider the conditions surrounding a teenager when it comes to drinking alcohol for the first time.

Typically, this scenario plays out at a friend's house with a small group of friends or teammates. One of the kids has access to alcohol and suggests that they "try it".

If your son or daughter is part of the group, the pressure to conform can be daunting.

To prepare my kids for this scenario, I role-play with them.

Scenario #1: Sneaking alcohol

Teammate: "Hey, wanna try some beer? I took some from the garage. My parents have no clue."

Your child (reluctantly): "I'm not sure. I haven't ever tried it."

Teammate: "Dude, so what. Everyone has to start sometime. Try it..."

Your child: "Nah, no thanks."

Teammate: "Dude, what's the big deal? Just take a sip. It's not going to kill you. I do it all the time."

Your child: "I don't want to barf, man."

Teammate: "You...

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Lessons Learned from Thanksgiving Olympics

Every Thanksgiving, my extended family gets together in Palm Desert. Our group includes eight adults and eleven cousins from 4 - 17 years old.

For the last few years, I have organized a "Thanksgiving Day Junior Olympics" competition for the kids. This year, 8 of the 11 cousins participated.

The specific events (which are kept secret until game day) test a wide range of physical abilities, athletic skills, and random gameplay. It's an all-day affair (11am to 6pm) with a few breaks for water and snacks.

2016 List of Events

  1. Swim (sprint distance)
  2. Swim (long distance)
  3. Jump from 8-foot ledge into pool, underwater somersault immediately into a 20-foot underwater swim (all on a breath-hold)
  4. Submerge a water polo ball to bottom of pool using only one hand (must tap the bottom of pool with ball 2x)
  5. Plank (minimum 2 minutes, more points for longer endurance)
  6. Billiards
  7. Bean Bag toss
  8. Shuffleboard
  9. Running (sprint, 1x around lake)
  10. Running (long distance, 2x around lake)
  11. Running (40-yard dash...
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