InSideOut Initiative Kicks Off Where it All Began

InSideOut Initiative Minnesota

On February 10, the InSideOut Initiative officially launched in Minnesota with a wide range of partners, including the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), the NFL Foundation and statewide education leadership associations, such as MSBA, MASA, MASSP, MNIAAA, and Minnesota State High School Coaches Association (MSHSCA).

Vikings Youth Football Manager Madison Cortese kicked off the day by emphasizing the organization’s enthusiasm in participating in the Initiative, and helping to combat win-at-all-costs sports culture. Over lunch, Minnesota Vikings COO Andrew Miller recounted his experiences with purpose-based culture, and reaffirmed the team’s commitment to this important work. 

Erich Martens, Executive Director of the MSHSL spoke to the group, pleased with how many leaders from state associations assembled. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of a group that has had leaders from all our various partner organizations,” he said—emphasizing the importance of collective work towards a common purpose. In reflecting on his own experience as a high school principal, Martens said, “I always encouraged kids to find an activity that would connect them to the school. But I know now that we have to be intentional and have a clear plan to get kids connected to athletics and activities programs.” 

During the training, Jody Redman reflected on the role of sports in education—gaining nods from the educational leaders in the room such as superintendents, principals and other leaders. “If we want our programs to be about teaching and learning, then we have to create a culture that will support coaches in that role,” she said. 

Participants in the audience offered some thoughts on the urgency of ISOI’s mission. “Our kids are sleep deprived because they’re involved in way too many things,” said one participant, adding that when kids are tired and can’t function, then there’s failure and they crash. In reflecting on their own leadership mantras and purpose, participants shared the following definitions of leadership:

A leader is someone who…

  • brings people together towards a common goal 
  • someone who inspires others to be their best selves
  • leads by example at a high level 
  • influences others to successfully achieve a common mission
  • builds confidence or capacity in others 

We can’t think of a better group of individuals to begin this journey with than the educational leaders here in Minnesota—and look forward to gathering with athletic leaders for ongoing training at US Bank Stadium in April.