Creating Responsible Youth through Physical Activity: The Don Hellison Story

Thomas Martinek


My familiarity with Don Hellison’s work started when I was a doctoral student at Boston University.  I remember being assigned by my advisor to read a Prentice Hall publication entitled Humanistic Physical Education. The book was Don’s first introduction in our field to the ways physical education can serve as an important vehicle for improving the human condition of young people. Its message resonated with me in such a profound way that it continues to guide my way of viewing and doing scholarly work to this very day. His approach toward “teaching and reaching” kids not only reinforced my belief that teaching sport is more than teaching skills but about enhancing their moral thinking. He unveiled the incredible opportunities that can emerge from values-based physical activity instruction. Since then, Don and I have been guided by a common understanding and a set of ideas on what is best for kids.  He has been a true inspiration for me and many, many others who strive to help children and youth become positive contributors to their communities.

Don’s work with kids spans over three decades.  During that time he has always embraced the idea that if you work with kids in the real world, you have to be armed with a repertoire of ideas that helps them gain some control over their lives.  While initially viewed as alternative and “foreign” to our field, his work has become the standard for values-based programming in physical education and sport. He has reminded all of us that when you set up programs for kids, especially those marginalized from the societal mainstream, you have to understand that they are kids and have lives and dreams, and struggles. The technical stuff, while important, becomes just a small part of the bigger picture where self-discovery and responsibility are realized in kids.

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RICYDE. Revista Internacional de Ciencias del Deporte

Publisher: Ramón Cantó Alcaraz
ISSN:1885-3137 - Periodicidad Trimestral / Quarterly
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