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The Leadership Letters: Mine Maze

The Leadership Letters: Mine Maze

This is a teamwork activity that focuses on being able to differentiate the wrong path from the right path, quite literally. Your team members are paired up and need to help each other get through a “mine field” made of tables and chairs!

Materials you will need;S1200017

  • LOTS of tables and chairs
  • blindfolds (Half of the people participating)
  • a large open room

How to play;

  1. scatter the tables and chairs all over the room, yes we mean ALL over the room (barely enough for a person to find their way through them) DO NOT let those participating to see the room or help set it up.
  2. Pair off the participants
  3. Let the pair choose which one of them will be blindfolded.
  4. Blindfold the person and have the blindfolded person lead them to the room.
  5. line all of the people up on a wall with their partner.
  6. Pick a spoS1200018t on the opposite wall the the blindfolded people have to touch, like a door, a window, or a poster. (We chose our red door.)
  7. The un-blindfolded  person has to guide the blindfolded person to that object without them touching a “mine” (any chair, table, or other person. (If they touch any of these things, they must start over back at the start wall)
  8. The un-blindfolded people have to stay back against the starting wall and tell the blindfolded people where to go.
  9. From here on IT’S A RACE! GO GO GO!!


Letting go of the Shiny Thing – Where the Red Fern Grows

Letting go of the Shiny Thing – Where the Red Fern Grows

Young Billy Colman wants nothing more than two great coon-hunting hounds of his own, but sadly his family’s financial situation makes this impossible. Billy’s father needs to provide for Billy, his wife, and his three daughters, much less two hunting hounds! Luckily for Billy when he was out in the woods one day he finds a catalogueredbone hound advertising redbone hunting hounds. This gives Billy hope in buying the dogs for himself. He immediately goes to work collecting berries and fishing bait to sell to the local fisherman at his grandpa’s store. After two years Billy finally had the $50 needed to order the dogs. After a very eventful trip to town to pick up the pups and hiding from a mountain lion on the way home it is finally time to start training the dogs. Once raccoon season starts, billy is ably to help provide for his family by selling the coon skins and even wins $500 in a big coon hunting competition! On the way back from the competition Billy and his dogs encounter a mountain lion and Old Dan is fatally injured shortly after arriving home Old Dan dies and Little Ann dies shortly after of a broken heart. Billy is majorly depressed and he mourns his lost friends until the fall, when the family decides to use the money Billy made to move from the country into town so their children can get an education. As Billy goes to say good-bye to his hound’s graves he notices a red fern had started growing in between the two mounds and is given the peace he has been missing since the dogs died, and now is ready to grow up.

If you recognize that plot you probably read the book Where the Red Fern Grows at some point in your life. I read this book in my sixth grade English class and was able to get many great life lessons that I useThree_raccoons_in_a_tree to this day out of it. The most substantial lesson I received from that story is the fact that sometimes you have to let go of something that seems great but in reality is what is causing my pain. This is shown in the story when, in order to train his new pups, Billy needs to get a coon skin for them to chase. He doesn’t know how to get a coon skin without trained hounds to track it, but luckily his grandfather came up with a solution. Billy’s grandfather remembered a trap that can be used to catch coons without using dogs. the idea behind the trap is that you drill a hole in a log and drop a small shiny object in the hole, then you drive nails into the shaft. The raccoon will see the shiny object at the bottom and want it, so they reach into the hole and grab it, but once they grab it they can’t pull their hand oRed_fern_grows_statueut because the of the nails that make the hole too small for their closed fist to get back through.

It is simple to seek the hole in this plan, why can’t the raccoon just let go of the object and pull their hand out? Billy’s grandpa
explains that the strange thing about raccoon are that they are too stubborn to let go of the shiny thing. Once a raccoon decides that it wants something it becomes so determined to have it that it will not stop until it get the thing. So the raccoon will sit there forever until it ether pulls it’s fist out (which it won’t,) or the hunter comes along. Another interesting thing is that raccoons are not the only animals that do this human do this as well. We all have that thing that we just can’t seem to let go of, but we will never be truly free if we have it. We need to learn to just let go of the shiny thing in our lives, then we can truly be on the path to happiness.

The Leadership Letters: Tall Tower

The Leadership Letters: Tall Tower

This is an effective team-building exercise that allows a team to see and experience the difference between a boss and a great leader. You do the same exercise twice with different restrictions to show the differences pretty obviously. Don’t just watch the video, you’ll need the instructions to understand!

Materials that you will need;

  1. Two groups of 15 big plastic cups (30 all together)
  2. A flat surface (to build the towers on)
  3. Six or more people
  4. An MC (you)
  5. A small reward for the winners (I would suggest 2-5 dollars for each person on one team)

Round One (The Boss)

  • The people split into two even (or if you have odd numbers, ALMOST even,) groups.
  • Each group gets one of the stacks of cups.
  • Set stack of cups on flat surface.
  • Each group appoints a “Leader.”
  • The “Leader” stands about 10 feet away from the “Builders.”
  • The groups are instructed to try build the tallest tower out of the cups.
  • The “Builders” are not allowed to speak.
  • The “Builders” must do exactly (Yes I mean EXACTLY) what the “leader” says to do and NOTHING else to build the tower. (The leaders should be VERY specific, for example; “Jeff, pick up the top cup from the stack and put it about five inches in front of the stack of cups.”)
  • Give the teams three minutes to make their tower.
  • After one minute, the MC have the “leaders” move back farther (5-10 steps) away from the “builders.”
  • Another minute later have the “leader” turn around so they can’t see the “builders.”
  • When the teams have 10 or so seconds to go knock down their towers (obviously don’t tell them beforehand.)
  • Let the “Leader” try to have them fix it (they will definitely fail because the “Leader” can’t see where the knocked down cups are.)

Round Two (The REAL leader)

  • Re-set the cups into stacks.
  • The groups can appoint a new Leader if they want to.
  • The groups are going to try to build the tallest tower again.
  • Give the groups two minutes this time.
  • The new Leader can stand WITH the builders now.
  • The Builders are allowed to talk and give ideas this time.
  • The leader isn’t allowed speak.
  • The leaders job now is to indicate who’s ideas they should go through with by pointing at the person with that idea.
  • After one minute you may let the leader speak and help the team.
  • When time is up, declare a winner and hand out the rewards to them.

What you can do after the activity is have a discussion with your team about how this relates to leadership and what the differences between a boss and a leader. Our team a Preferred Insurance Center actually did this activity if you would like to see it in action, feel free to take a look at the video below.

5 Great Ideas to get Your Budget in Gear.

5 Great Ideas to get Your Budget in Gear.

Budgets are the best way to keep your money in check (pun intended!) Everyone needs a good budget to make sure they don’t accidentally recklessly spend their money. Sadly, most people hate keeping up with their budget. Here are five tips to make your budget easy.

Have a goal.

The best way to feel motivated to do, frankly, ANYTHING involving a budget is to have something that you’re saving up for. Like a fancy vacation, new car, or a home renovation. Setting aside money for something important to you also helps you want to have more of a structure in your budget.budget

Give Yourself Some Buffer Money.

Make sure that you put a little bit of extra money so you are able to pay for unexpectedly high bills and emergencies. You can never be too careful!

When you pay, try to use cash.

If you can actually SEE the money that you’re spending, you’re a lot more likely to not spend as much. It’s as simple as that.

budget2Anticipate this month’s costs.

At the beginning of the month, try to predict your expenses for the rest of the month in different categories. Then if you ever need to, you can adjust your money by changing what category it is in.

 Just keep it simple.

Make sure you’re very clear with your budget, you can use spreadsheets on your computer or a plain ol’ checkbook to keep everything organized. Being able to be organized with your money is the first step to having a successful budget.

The financial planner provides you with one place where you can keep, and easily access, your up-to-date financial information. 

Features of the Financial Planner:

  • Keep track of what you owe, own, and your budget
  • Template to help you efficiently budget
  • Caculations done for you. All you have to do is plug in your numbers
  • Contact information page to organize financial contacts

If you want more ideas, feel free to go to; http://www.today.com/money/build-family-budget-actually-works-2D79417869

Are you a toxic parent and don’t realize it?

Are you a toxic parent and don’t realize it?

A toxic parent is a parent who’s behaviors are transmitted unto children that could potentially cause them direct or indirect harm. All parents can have varying grades of toxicity, and sadly, it’s a lot more common than you may think. The number one job as a parent is to be a good role model for your child and hopefully have their life be better than yours was. All families should try to model healthy relationship dynamics and be a support system for the children. A lot of times parents aren’t realizing that their actions could be harmful to their children. These are some of the behaviors that could indicate that you’re a toxic parent;
fighting parents

  • You and your partner fight in front of your children.
  • You are overly critical or easily disappointed.
  • You stand in between your child and their goals.
  • You don’t allow your children to express themselves freely.
  • You relentlessly “joke” about stuff your kid does.
  • You make your kids responsible for making you happy.

Another thing a new parent needs to think about is the fact that your child is a sponge. Your child is curious about everything and they’re always looking and listening. Naturally, kids’ actions are learned mostly from those who are most influential in their lives – namely their parents. Yelling, anger problems, talking negatively about things/people, gossiping and selfish behavior are all actions that kids soak up. So as a parent you need to become the prime role model for your child, even when you don’t think their paying attention. For more information about this topic feel free to visit the websites below.

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4 Healthy Habits You Should Teach Your Kids

4 Healthy Habits You Should Teach Your Kids

Parenthood is one of the joys of life, so it only makes since that you want to help your child grow up happy and healthy! Here are the top ten habits to instill in your child at a young age.dinner

Make Dinner a Family Affair

It is extremely important for a child to get time with their family every day! One of the best time to do this is dinner around the table, (not the television!) This way everyone has time to catch up with each other and talk about their days. Family meals are a great way for your child to connect with their parents and siblings daily. Also, when the entire family sits down at a meal it often prompts a healthier meal to be served!

Brush twice a day

Make sure that you teach your kids to brush their teeth twice a day! Set aside time for someone to brush with them every morning when they get up and every night before they go to bed. Start doing this with your child as soon as possible and make sure they understand how important dental hygiene is!

Find Activities They Love

Every child is different and will enjoy different things. Sign them up for many different activities, and this doesn’t necessarily mean just sports. These are skills they can grow and develop all through their little ballerinalife, but you shouldn’t by any means force them to stay in these activities if it becomes apparent that they don’t enjoy them. Great activities to get them involved with include, but aren’t limited to;

  1. Piano lessons
  2. Gymnastics classes
  3. Tee-Ball
  4. Dance Lessons (Yes, even the boys)
  5. Soccer Leagues

Don’t Skip Breakfast!

Help your child jump-start their day by feeding them a healthy breakfast! Breakfast has been scientifically proven to help a person be more positive throughout the day and getting your child on a steady breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule helps keep from unnecessary snacking! Also, eating a non-sugary breakfast gives them all the energy they’ll need throughout the day!

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For these ideas and many more feel free to go to;


How to Create a Kid’s Chore Chart System

How to Create a Kid’s Chore Chart System

A good parent has their children do chores around the house, but it can be difficult to get your kids motivated enough to do them. One of the best ways to do this is to make a chore chart for them. There are many different ways to create an effective chart system, here are some of the things you need to consider before you start:

Pick the Appropriate Chores for Your Child’s AgeChore Chart

Obviously your two year old can’t mop floors and your eleven year old can do a lot more than fold hand towels. You have to find chores that they are able to do reasonably well. For example, a two to three-year-old can put away toys and can wipe up small messes, a four to six-year-old can start setting the table and matching socks out of the laundry, a seven to ten-year-old can take out the trash and sweep, and an eleven-and-up kid can wash windows and mow the lawn.

Donating $10 to local charity for every policy we quote!

Find a Chart that will Easily Show what Needs to be Done

You should find a chart that is able to show all the chores that you need done, there are thousands of different ways to organize these charts. You can simply look them up on pinterest and find so many you don’t know what to do with them all. you should try to find one that works the best for you and your children. They should be able to easily understand the chart. A good chart is the difference between this working and not. You also need to put in a place that is easily visible to everyone in the household.

Chore popsicle sticksFind a good Incentive

One way to get the chores done is to give the children some form of reward for completely finishing them. Instead of just giving an allowance at the  end of the week, you can make them earn their money through their chores. A lot of families have chores as something you just do, they count as just being an active family member. Another way parents reward their kids is by letting them have sleepovers or go out to eat after they have done so many chores. These are all effective ways to get your children to do their chores.

For more ideas and charts on this topic, feel free to visit; 


Food and Mood: How Diet Impacts Mental Health

Food and Mood: How Diet Impacts Mental Health

We all know that a person’s diet is a important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of many mental health problems. Depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease and all be helped by having a good diet. healthy food

Even though diet is a generally known factor in mental health, it it also one of the most ignored factors. Nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day whereas of the people who do report mental health problems, less than half of them eat them. People with mental health problems eat less healthy food and more unhealthy food. A healthy diet should provide; adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

Sugary foods in unhealthy ahealthy-lunch-meal-fruitsre absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, this causes very temporary “high” which people crash from very quickly. This can create mood swings. Whereas sugar in healthy foods is absorbed more slowly these don’t cause mood swings. Other healthy foods (Wholegrain cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables) contain thiamin (B1), a vitamin that has been associated with control of mood

We have learned that what you eat can affect your daily life, mood and energy level. If you’re in doubt of your diet or mental health, you should discuss your diet with your nurse, a doctor or a dietitian.

For more information please visit;  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/diet-and-mental-health 


Tips for Traveling with Young Kids

Tips for Traveling with Young Kids

So you want to take your two-year-old on their first vacation? Here are some great ideas for keeping them under some form of control in a new environment.

Keep Them Off of Sweetshealthy snacks

The worst thing is entering a strange new city with a child on a sugar rush. So pack them snacks such as cheese, crackers, and fruit. Resist the temptation to keep them going with sugar, and bring them snacks that will keep them happy, not hyper.

Buy a Child Locator.

Toddlers aren’t dogs, they don’t enjoy walking on a leash or any thing that keeps them from being free to wander so invest in a small unit you can strap onto their belt or shoe s you can find them after that one second you took your eyes off of them. We’re not saying you don’t have to watch your kid, but make sure you have a plan to find them if the do get lost. You should also write you’re mobile number on their arm so if someone else finds them before you they know who to call.

Plan for Extra Time

It generally takes longer to get places with little kids in tow, so plan extra time between place “A” and place “B” for them to explore the new surroundings.

Family Airport Travel

Family Airport Travel

Apps are Your Friends

There are thousands of child-friendly apps around nowadays! Their colorful feel will keep your kid entertained for hours and hours! these are great for long car and plane rides.

Kids Shouldn’t Pack Their own Backpacks

Of course they should have some input, but you don’t want it to end up too heavy for them because they wanted to pack their pet rock “just in case.” Highly monitor what they put in their pack and put in all of the things they forgot and will DEFINITELY will want once they’re there.

Here are some good ideas on how to keep your toddler under control in an unfamiliar place such as going on vacation.

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For more tips, go to; Rough Guides

Ways to rev up your metabolism.

Ways to rev up your metabolism.

So you have inherited your mother’s oh-so-slow metabolism, there’s nothing you can do about it, right? WRONG! There are so many ways to rev up your metabolism! We’re here to help you get the metabolism you always wanted! Here are some great ways to boost your metabolism.

Detroit native Staff Sgt. Raymond German Jr., the legal chief for the office of the Staff Judge Advocate for 2nd Marine Division (Forward), runs on a treadmill during a recent workout. German spices up his runs on Camp Leatherneck by changing up his running routes or occasionally working out in the cardio gym.

Use Interval Training.

One of the best ways to work out is to work out in intervals. Start with any normal workout (Running, Biking, Swimming, Ect.) and do 30-60 seconds of intense workout followed by periods of rest (normal workout.) Repeat this six to eight times, and not only will you get the work out of your life, but your metabolism will keep working even after you get off the treadmill.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea is one of the best fat burners out there! It contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that helps the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy and triggers the release of fat from fat cells! It’s best to drink 4-5 cups a day, but the good news is that you can drink it iced or hot!

Eat Lots and Lots of Protein.Protein

Having more muscle means you burn more calories, it’s a fact. Yes working out builds up muscles, but eating proteins can help preserve them and keep them from deteriorating. Aim to incorporate a protein into every meal and to snack on them throughout the day. Remember that proteins are more than just meats, they’re also nuts and eggs as well!

Eat Enough Food.

Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you starve yourself, scientists say that you should eat AT THE LEAST as many calories as your resting metabolic rate (what you’d burn if you stayed in bed all day.) Not eating enough doesn’t conserve muscle mass, which means you’ll burn LESS calories. Also, when you don’t give the body calories, it will slow the rate it burns calories so save it’s fuel.

Click here for a GREAT Info-graph: 10 Easy Ways To Boost Metabolism Backed By Science!

For MANY more tips and tricks I suggest going to;