Saturday, November 1, 2014

Message from BDPA Atlanta Chapter President

Derrick Brown
Cross-Posted from The Aspiring Critical Thinker's Era

Saturday October 25th was a day that will always ring with a strong sense of positivity in the annals of BDPA Atlanta history. After much planning, no small amount of pain, highs and lows, disappointments and triumphs, BDPA Atlanta’s 1st Annual Josie’s FIT STEAM Relay came to fruition in the gym on the grounds of Arabia Mountain High School.

It was an unprecedented success.

When BDPA Atlanta set out to put together our year of programs we knew we wanted to raise our level of engagement and put on a program that not only maintained our national commitment of bringing kids From the Classroom to the Boardroom but also adhering to our local motto of Learn, Grow, Achieve, and for our kids this meant achieve at your level in order to spur you to go beyond. We dedicated ourselves to being advocates of STEM, and then evolved our perspective to become advocates of STEAM.

We knew, as do most people today, that technology touches every facet of our lives, including Art. So, in accordance we dedicated ourselves to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. We understand that art and how technology facilitates it are fundamental to the well-being and growth of our culture. With that understanding it becomes clear that any meaningful change in support of STEM requires an understanding and integration of Art, hence S.T.E.A.M.

Our program would be geared towards STEAM but we also had to craft the message of why? What makes us so different? Why is Josie’s FIT STEAM Relay so innovative? The differentiator is that we at BDPA know quite clearly that in order to make STEAM more accepted by our youth as an objective we must focus our efforts where we can make the right kind of impact. We need to be about cool culture change. We need to make STEAM not only fun, but cool.

And just to be clear, every person that attended the program thought it was not only cool, but a whole lot of fun.

Cool Culture Change is a transformation that requires an old approach with a new touch. By leveraging the power of MDC (Media-Driven Consumercelebreality), the meme virus that represents the power of marketing in a consumerist economy, driven by a what’s in it for me and where’s my stuff culture, by leveraging this power we can create that change. We can drive a strong message that embraces our youngest generation at their level, taking advantage of the things they like, the clothes, the music, the movies, utilizing all this to maximum effect by imbedding STEAM into what they know, what they love, what they desire, what they do.

On Saturday, October 25th we brought a group of young students together, along with their parents, friends, and supporters. We brought them together to test our approach to culture change. We had our brief opening ceremony, and then things began in earnest. The students were broken into four teams, got themselves mentally prepared, after which they gathered at the starting line.

Things kicked off with a sprint across the gym, followed by a set of even more demanding tasks. The physical activities were followed by more exercises that involved aspects of STEAM, an activity for each letter. Once a member of one team completed a circuit they tagged in the next STEAM athlete. As the student athletes went round for round, the crowd urged them on. In the background, DJ Professor played the music that got their blood pumping. They were in the moment. They were having fun. They flexed both their mental and physical muscles. They … were cool. And by virtue of them participating in the coolest new innovative event in STEAM, we were all cool as well.

Josephine 'Josie' Reed
It was a Saturday to remember, where the dreams of visionaries Josephine Reed and Arthur Rozier came together to build a program quite unlike any other. Josie’s FIT STEAM Relay is the gateway to BDPA Atlanta 5000, which is BDPA Atlanta’s commitment to the STEAM 5000 Conference, an effort to touch the souls of 5000+ kids.

The purpose? Take the power of MDC and strike at the heart of student apathy, engaging ever increasing numbers of kids at their level, with the things they like, the stuff that they hold dear, exposing them to the possibilities, educating them on how the stuff they love so much would not exist without the benefits of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, and that they too have a place in this world beyond consumption. That they are tomorrow’s producers, being Prosumers, actively engaged in STEAM.

This is our mandate, this is our purpose, this is our mission. Join BDPA Atlanta today and help us in our endeavor to make STEAM 5000 a reality. If you would be a part of something momentous, something that affects change at a foundational cultural level, if you would join with a worthy cause and better prepare tomorrow’s dynamic innovators today, then join us. We are ready for you.

Consider critically, becoming a member today.

The Aspiring Critical Thinker,
D.S. Brown, chapter president
BDPA Atlanta

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