Some students make 100 miles by mid-January wile others struggle to reach their goal. it is important to not forget we are instilling goal setting, team camaraderie, and the joy of exercising. For those that do reach 100 we let these individuals savor the inner rewards that come from humility, poise, confidence and friendship as they help others reach their goals, too.
We believe that every single individual has the ability to achieve true personal success and a new level of physical fitness by Accepting the Challenge of running 100 miles at school during a single school year. The 100 Mile Club® does not award medals to those who hit 100 miles until the end of the year awards presentation.
The 100 Mile Club® Medal Ceremony has its origins right in my little classroom, and began the first year of The 100 Mile Club® Project over 27 years ago. You can do pretty much whatever you want to celebrate, but DO SOMETHING!
Here are the basics:
- EVERYONE receives a certificate with the total miles run/walked written in and signed by the Site head Coach/es. Even if they walked just a few miles, they are recognized for making the effort.
- Make sure that everyone wears their 100 Mile Club® t-shirt the day of the ceremony. It is spectacularly unifying to have everyone in their tees, and it LOOKS really cool! Take pictures!
- Only those who run/walk 100 miles will receive a medal. Everyone knows this going in, so it is no surprise. Trust me when I say that the medal is a huge motivator, and so is the recognition by one’s peers. The will work for it, and if they don’t quite make it, you celebrate anyway.
- No you do not get 2 medals for 200 miles. You can do something fun at the school site. We have hoodies, special tees, hats, etc. that you can get for kids who go above and beyond, but be careful. You don’t want to go way overboard for that top mile kid.
- Think about that child who did something extraordinary: Think about the one who finished his miles in a wheelchair because he broke his leg, or the one who came back after moving away to finish his miles with his former class, or the child who helped his friend finish the last seven miles, the DAY before the Medal Ceremony* Think about the child who blossomed somehow within the program. These kids may need personal recognition more that anyone.
6. Have FUN! Ceremonies can be any of (but of course not limited to) the following:
A School-wide Assembly. These can be wild and crazy, or dignified and noble. You make it what you want… have balloons, make a slideshow, have music, invite local dignitaries.
A Family/Company Potluck, Picnic, or BBQ. Yes, families and businesses can be a 100 Mile Club®™ chapter, too! You can end the year with a group picnic at the beach, lake, or local park.
A Reflective Year-End Classroom Activity. This is actually how the ceremony began in my classroom. We invited all of the families of our individuals and spoke of each individuals’ achievements, as we announced their miles and presented medals and final certificates. This was done by the classroom teacher in the privacy of the room, and is a very personalized and warm way of celebrating the students’ achievements.
Medal Patrol. Travel from classroom to classroom and present year-end awards class by class. Use a cart filled with medals, music, a special treat for the teacher, whatever…The kids LOVE watching the cart go by and wondering when Prize Patrol will reach THEIR room.
A few DON’Ts for you.
For what it’s worth, I really do not like having to outline the don’ts. That said, some folks need them and that is ok. We want every child’s efforts to be celebrated and respected, and if that means peppering in a few DON’Ts, I’m fine with that.
At your Medal Ceremonies, PLEASE:
- DON’T sort your kids from lowest to highest miles. Think about how you would feel if you were the first one called. First, having to stand up while everyone after you has more miles than you would be torturous. Second, perhaps those first-called-low-mile-total kids did their personal best, and being sorted from low to high miles would negate that personal best. Finally, everyone KNOWS who did more miles than whom, who worked hard, who is new, who got hurt or sick halfway through the year…these kids have become a team. Ranking is divisive and unnecessary. Be careful when recognizing the child who ran “the most” miles. It can be done, and has and is being done really well in a lot of places, but be aware of over-celebration of certain things.
- DON’T make excuses or shy away from Medal Ceremonies if nobody made their 100. It is difficult to stand up in front of parents and your students when nobody in your class made their 100 miles. The kids know if they worked hard at 100 Mile Club®, and you know in your heart whether or not you were a helpful, encouraging coach, if you allowed them the time to complete their miles, and if you made the program what it should be. If a lot of kids did not make their 100 miles, you need to refrain from blaming kids for being lazy or making excuses. Nobody DOESN’T want to make it. As a group, talk about what you can do to do better next year, even if you are going to have a new class and they are going to have a new teacher. There is no time for judging or making excuses.
- DON’T just recognize the kids who did 100 miles and ignore the rest. This is just sad and wrong and will make kids feel like their best was not good enough. Do something to recognize everyone…it doesn’t have to be monumental, it just has to be something. For many of our kids, this certificate is the only one they will receive at year’s end.
- DON’T put certificates and medals in cubbies to just send home. If you do that, you are wasting money and time. These kids work and wait all year for their Medal Ceremony. Leaving out that final step in the 100 Mile Club® process will destroy the soul of the program. DO SOMETHING.
In sum, what you need to know is that The 100 Mile Club® Medal Ceremony something that should be meaningful to you, your colleagues, and your participants. You are creating tradition with this, so plan well and make sure to always have FUN!! Visit our YouTube Channel for video snippets of different medal ceremonies around the country.