About two years ago I was watching a basketball game at a local high school when I noticed something that really inspired me. Almost every student was drinking chocolate milk. They were actually choosing a healthy drink over the sugary sports drinks or soda. This caused me to start taking notice at other concession stands as I traveled with my teams to various sporting events. I noticed that almost all of them had healthy options such as bananas, apples, string cheese, yogurt, etc. This inspired ME to set out to make a change! At my school’s concession stand we have the usual such as popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, candy, water, soda and sports drinks. I suggested to the teacher in charge that we add some healthy options. It wasn’t seen as a priority and was viewed as additional work by the teacher involved, so I felt I needed to take a different approach. I decided to prove that there was both a need and want for healthy options. To do this, I asked if I could run a few experiments to see how some items would sell. At a basketball game we added some apples, yogurts, and chocolate milk. Then, at a wrestling meet we added bananas, yogurts and chocolate milk. We were thrilled with the results!!! We sold out of chocolate milk and bananas very shortly after opening and the other items sold quickly as well!
Fast forward to summer. I knew if I wanted to make a change for the upcoming school year, I needed to start early. I asked for a meeting with my Program Advisors, food service director, the teacher in charge of the concession stand, and myself. I expressed to them why this change was so important to me. They agreed and from there we worked to iron out the details of how to make it happen. Not only did this meeting help implement the healthy options, but my food service director offered some cost and time cutting options for the teacher in charge so this was a huge success all around.
As a result of my efforts, our concession stand has added cheese sticks, chocolate milk and sliced apples for now, with more items to hopefully be added in the future! My FUTP 60 team helped to get the word out promoting these new items by making some big signs which we hung up right by the stand.
What I learned through all of this? If you see something that you want changed for the better, pursue it! It may take a while and you may experience resistance from some people, but don’t give up! Your opinion matters! YOU can make change happen!