What is The Courage Campaign?
“To leverage movement and the power of intention to redefine our relationship with fear and attain new levels of personal empowerment."
Founded by one of Boston’s premiere fitness instructors, Ashley Mitchell, The Courage Campaign is a nonprofit that provides public schools and communities with high-caliber physical fitness instruction combined with personal development and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Through The Courage Campaign, students of all ages get the physical movement they so desperately need - and that their school’s strive to provide - while also learning about the extraordinary benefits of putting pen to paper through guided introspective journaling to organize their thoughts, and identify their fears, dreams, priorities and greatest inner super powers. We believe that these tools build lifelong self-care practices that are invaluable and more important than ever in navigating the unprecedented events surrounding them today. The Courage Campaign creates strong minds and bodies today that that will help build a positive tomorrow.
Physical activity has a critical role to play in healthy child development. Studies show that exercise benefits learning, memory, cognitive ability, mood and academic performance in numerous ways. However, there is growing evidence that kids of all ages across all ethnicities, genders, and socio- economics are dealing with unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress. Students who have access to The Courage Campaign are provided with the physical outlet they need while learning how to activate their inner strength, identify their individuality and innate
characteristics of courage.
The fundamental ethos behind The Courage Campaign:
1. While our traditional education system is steeped in developing core academic and physical fitness skills, it is often missing elements (self-reflection, self-care and Courage being the center points) that augments a more well- rounded approach to life.
2. Movement (think HIIT training combined with the fluidity of yoga or flow) integrated with thought- provoking questions and journaling creates a level of freedom, creativity, and motivation to identify and discuss the characteristics of inner strength, courage, and resilience. This discovery enables students to feel more empowered and better prepared to deal with fear, failure, and challenges that may come their way.
3. The building of community under a shared goal or set of principles is essential to learning about life and perspective. The workshop or residency space is a safe environment to engage in critical conversations, challenge self-limiting beliefs, and discover one's sense of freedom and play! Similarly, to have the space and time to reflect and introspect creates much needed connection between mind, body and spirit.
How does The Courage Campaign work?
Ashley brings to public school students and the associated communities over 10 years of experience working with kids, sports and athletics, public speaking, mindfulness practice along with over 2000 hours of teaching the art of movement. Together, this experience has helped her overcome numerous challenges in her life which she draws from to optimize what works best for the specific student’s mind, bodies, and spirits.
The Courage Campaign augments the existing educational structure to create synergy by filling the gaps in physical education, athletics, and social-emotional wellness programs. As each student population and socio-economic upbringing is different, Ashley performs an initial assessment with the designated school representatives to consider the unique needs of their student body. While the foundational structure of the program is always consistent, the details will reflect the needs and concerns of the student population.
Through a one-shot 60-minute workshop or regularly scheduled weekly or monthly classes in schools, Ashley and The Courage Campaign empower students by strengthening their physical and mental aptitude and encouraging positive selfcare practices.
The range of topics covered include:
Failure and Accountability
Through the program, students receive a sound understanding of bodyweight movement and its vocabulary, the ability to crystalize their hopes and dreams into actionable steps, and to redefine and be accountable to personal wellness, stress management and how it fits into their everyday lives. In addition, students are equipped with the intuitive and practical skills of effective ways to communicate needs, respond to failure, and better manage fear and anxiety through the skills that they have learned.
The Courage Campaign offers two approaches to bringing their program to schools:
1. Courage Transformation Workshop
This workshop is offered in 60 and 90-minute formats that can be dovetailed into the school day
or as an after-school event. Set to a specifically curated, inspiring playlist, the students will
participate in a weaving of discussion, intention-setting, journaling, breathing & meditation
techniques, and movement exercises designed to release the endorphins that pave the way to self-
empowerment and awareness. This is more than a traditional P.E. class!
2. Courage Transformation Residency
Similar in concept to the workshop, the residency is for those schools or communities that want
to provide the benefits of The Courage Campaign to their students for several weeks, months or
throughout the entire school year. These longer-term programs make it possible for more in-depth reflections
that include journaling questions based on things that kids are learning in Comprehensive Health,
English Language Arts, History and Social Science. In addition, as students learn more about
their own intention setting and journaling, they develop a deeper understanding of the role that
they play as an active member of their school community – how their self-care and outlook plays
a direct role in creating a positive school community. These longer residency programs also
make it possible to provide students with conflict resolution tools that are important lessons
students will carry with them into their futures.
The Courage Campaign for Small Groups and Corporations
WIth a nod to the future and a deep appreciation of the present, we understand the complexities of supporting our youth, and that true change needs to involve not just the students themselves but also those in their direct and indirect support systems. To that end, we also make it a point to also hold space for adults - parents, teachers, community leaders and even neighbors - to participate in and benefit from the outcomes that this program provides.
The Courage Campaign for Small Groups is a reinterpretation of Group Fitness coaching. The aim of the training sessions are to transform fear and the surrounding narratives by using fitness as the anchor point for achieving overall wellness, balance, and personal growth. By recognizing and naming the fears and hurdles you feel are “holding you back”, we will work as a team to push our bodies and minds through a journey that is predicated on heart-rate induced journaling meant to synthesize unfiltered authenticity.
While strong enough to stand on it's own, this program is ultimately intended to meet you where you are and complement whatever wellness regimen you already subscribe to; serving as a catalyst to break through obstacles and fear-induced behaviors to attain new levels of success and confidence. Because of this, it is also ideal for targeted team building events within corporate environments.
It is important to note that The Courage Campaign isn’t another “method”, but rather an amalgamation of fear-management techniques, fitness and guided introspection. The effects of this program also don't end the minute you leave the room. We spend time rewiring and re-imagining your patterns of behavior so your trust and belief in yourself also don’t end after the close of each session. Having real conversations with real support and objectivity can be the difference between “I wish I could be” and “I am”. This is about resilience, tenacity, and maintaining accountability for your mental and physical health.