The proof of concept boot camp to test “sports as a hook” for learning was held on August 7, 8, and 9, 2018 at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Public Health and Concordia University – Wisconsin in Mequon. Some 27 high school students from Neenah, Milwaukee, Madison and Beloit participated. There were 15 adults as chaperones, teachers, coaches and observers. Among the observers from Beloit was Lamont Weaver, a parent, whose 1969 “Shot heard around Wisconsin” captured the attention statewide and inspired Bridge and Build 50 years later.
Sponsoring entities were the public schools in Beloit and Neenah, Mentoring Positives in Madison and Neighborhood House of Milwaukee.
Teaching cadre for the boot camp came from educational institutions, businesses and not-for-profit organizations like Junior Achievement and Asset Builders of America. Some former and retired football and basketball players were teachers and speakers. At Concordia University – Wisconsin, a professor in the Business of Sports program lead an exercise whereby students played the roles of players’ agents and teams in attempting to reach negotiated agreements, calling upon financial, communications, negotiating and collaboration skills. Also on the Concordia University campus in Mequon, the students visited Kapco Field, home of the Northwoods League Lakeshore Chinooks Baseball Club. They were briefed on the business of baseball, job shadowed interns and staff in pre-game preparations and took to the field for a “graduation” ceremony where their names were announced by game announcer and flashed on the scoreboard along with the Bridge and Build logo.
Food and lodging were provided without charge to the students and adults. Lodging was donated by Landmark Properties, manager of Eleven 25 @ Pabst, a residential facility for college students in Milwaukee, located adjacent to the UW-M School of Public Health and near the new Milwaukee Bucks Arena. Liberty Consulting and Management Co., LLC of Wilmette, IL provided accounting services pro-bono and will produce an auditable accounting of the event which was largely financed by the Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training (WAGET), a not-for-profit with 501c3 standing.
Also in 2018 for Bridge and Build: On Sept. 12, the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the boot camp youth in a day at Miller Park with briefings on off the field careers in baseball. First Stage youth theater in Milwaukee conducted a workshop for the youth on Jackie Robinson as a leader on and off the field.
Evaluation was done through The LEAD Center (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation and Dissemination) of the University of Wisconsin – Madison Center for Educational Research.