A for Athlete

The following content presents raw ideas. This page needs massive edits. Do not quote this material in any source. It is not sanctioned in any way. Rather, this page is more of a place holder for more editing to come.

Insights and opinions from Mark Rauterkus.

Digital Badges = Introduction of a Golden Opportunity[]


Mark Rauterkus, left, and Larry Evans, right, at the CMU stadium to play a friendly game of soccer to promote women's rights with a female team from

Letter-Audiology-SS-from Iran
Iran (also known as IRI) Flag of Iran while Pittsburgh hosted the G-20 Summit in September 2009.

Digital Badges offer a tremendous opportunity to participants in Summer Dreamers, the staff with the Learn & Earn program and to greater society. With Digital Badges youngsters get eye-candy for resumes. Plus, program leaders get to further formalize the challenges and accomplishments.

As a long-time coach and publisher. Digital Badges provide an additional chapter to support the mission of advancing aquatics, sports, fitness, wellness, technology, literacy, liberty and peace.

Partners Play Well with Others[]

The Sprout Fund grant in 2015 for $2,500 provides wonderful start-up funds to support Digital Badges. The funds helped with literacy efforts with Swim & Water Polo Camp to provide fully, digital experiences.

The grant managers asked for additional documentation to clarify career readiness, learning outcomes and the relationship among the BGC project with Swim & Water Polo Camp and the activities of partner organizations mentioned in the grant: Mindful Pittsburgh and 4-H.

Part 1:[]

Distinct efforts with Digital Badges with the BGC program at Summer Dreamers with Swim & Water Polo Camp[]

Mark Rauterkus is the executive coach for the BGC and has had a multi-year contract to serve as an activity partner for Summer Dreamers, a summer-school program of Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Efforts with Digital Badges came as a result of encouragement from Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Summer Dreamers. The BGC and its leadership have a long history of supporting the local children, students, programs and playing our roles to help the community and its institutions.

Other organizations[]


  • BGC's Swim & Water Polo Camp students and staff have an opportunity to earn the following 20 Digital Badges. These are distinct tools created for this grant without overlap with other organizations:
  1. Digital Badges/Swimming/Pre Lifeguard
  2. Digital Badges/Tech Literacy
  3. Digital Badges/Goals/Level 1
  4. Digital Badges/Goals/Level 2
  5. Digital Badges/Goals/Level 3
  6. Digital Badges/Goals/Level 4
  7. Digital Badges/Goals/Level 5
  8. Digital Badges/Goals/Level Masters
  9. Digital Badges/Exercises/Routines
  10. Digital Badges/SKWIM/Level 1
  11. Digital Badges/SKWIM/Level 2
  12. Digital Badges/SKWIM/Level 3
  13. Digital Badges/SKWIM/Level 4
  14. Digital Badges/SKWIM/Level 5
  15. Digital Badges/Water Polo = fully knowledge based with test and tutorials.
  16. Digital Badges/Sportsmanship
  17. Digital Badges/Teamwork
  18. Digital Badges/Swimming/Deep Water
  19. Digital Badges/Exercises/Liberty Mile
  20. Digital Badges/Exercises/Pull Your Own Weight

Part 2[]

Focus on career readiness and learning outcomes[]

Let's fly over the sport skills hurdle first.[]

Rest assured, much of these 20 digital badges go far beyond sports skills of catching, throwing, swimming. I've put the above list in a specific order with the top hitting high on both career readiness and learning outcomes. Yet, I am a sports coach, so I'll begin with sports skils, at the bottom of the list.

  • Pull Your Own Weight digital badge covers the skill of doing a pull up, an exercise that battles the nation's number one public health concern, obesity.
  • Liberty Mile digital badge is for running a 1-mile road race. Running is a human sports skill and also a performance, preparation, self-knowledge and mob behavior challenge.
  • Deep water digital badge rewards a simple sports skill of swimming. Plus it marks a time of great personal empowerment and shows a youngster how he or she can conquering a major fear while side-step the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury related deaths. Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning.

Sports skills are not a factor, or at best, a marginal consideration, for the other 17.

Slam Dunks for Career Readiness[]

Career readiness for Summer Dreamers raises a skeptical concern but fits well into a four of the digital badges: SKWIM Level 5, Pre Lifeguard, Tech Literacy and Routines.

Getting a lifeguard job is possible with SKWIM Level 5 as that set of badges, aligned to standards, caps itself with lifeguard certification. Getting to Level 4 and Level 5 with the Summer Dreamers isn't expected, but it could be achieved in the summer with Learn & Earn staffers.

The Pre Lifeguard digital badge tests students in questions of fitness, health, safety, plus physical skills. Those that get the Pre Lifeguard stage are ready to sign-up for a lifeguard class with a water park, such as Sandcastle, and Citiparks. Sadly, many of the youth in Pittsburgh can't swim well enough to become lifeguards. Swim skill and strength in the water is a limiting factor for many. A season in the program can widen the gateway to jobs.

With Tech Literacy comes on-line communication, and a load of wiki page edits including links to online resumes. Students building digital profiles and expressing themselves, researching and handling media occurs in efforts with Tech Literacy as well as Routines.

Getting the Routines badge includes research, creative content publishing, following directions and the final milestone is leading an exercise routine. Being an aerobic dance instructor and physical trainer is a logical future step.

Social Values[]

Badges on Spoortsmanship and Teamwork speak for themselves as to workplace behaviors. Throughout the days of camp the students from all the teams huddle with coaches and come to concensus as to who gets the nods for those honors. At the end of the camp, each staff member gives out the honors based upon the traits seen throughout the weeks.

Six Goal Setting Badges[]

The goals digital badges offer a process of positive self-development for individuals of every age and experience.

  • At Level 1, select daily goals for one's focus.
  • At Level 2, knowledge is gained about the personal goal achievement style. Kids take a standardized, validated, 96 question inventory, the Goal Orientation Index, GOI. Results are calculated immediately and displayed for the individual.
  • At Level 3, an attitude of accountability is developed with help from peers, friends, mentors, and teachers as a goal support team is formed.
  • At Levels 4 and 5, the skill of striving and working toward goals on a daily process is put into place. Specific attention is paid toward identifying and mitigating distractions and stressors that typically derail goal achievement. The duration for Level 4 is one week. For Level 5 it is one month.
  • At Level 6, the whole process is contextualized for the earner. Goals Masters describe the big picture that they have acted out in the previous levels. Individuals write a "term paper" on the conation cycle. Their story of selecting, striving towards, and reflecting on specific goals gets written. Inspiration and reflections from others in their goal setting shapes this personal homework. Specific examples of the cycle at work are written.

Strength of Digital Badges/Goals is:

  • Each Level is realistic so badges can be completed.
  • Levels build traits needed to effectively perform the discussion about the conation cycle towards goal achievement.
  • Levels build on each other in a logical way that transitions from building knowledge, to skill, and finally disposition.
  • Of course, the final disposition can help athletes and non-athletes. All can benefit.

With Goals, students are shown by their own actions that they are capable of accomplishments. Being one who can set, work to and reach goals comes with a distinctly positive mindset. These tools enables students to become more than just a product of their environment, and become a positive force capable of changing their environments. The goals platform offers more than just a way to achieve sports, fitness, and career goals. It offers the hope and path to accomplishing any goal, small or grand.