Virginia High School League Recommits to InSideOut Work: Post-Pandemic Momentum Builds
“This opportunity is significant for us and we’re so grateful for the support of the Washington Football Club, the NFL Foundation, and the InSideOut Initiative.” Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun, Executive Director, Virginia High School League (VHSL)
In December 2019, the InSideOut Initiative launched a partnership with the Washington Football Team, Virginia High School League, and the NFL Foundation. The following March, more than 200 athletic leaders joined for training—building momentum for purpose-based high school sports culture across the commonwealth. Then, COVID struck and all in-person activities ground to a halt.
“We are thrilled with the kickoff of InSideOut here in Virginia,” Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun, executive director of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) told us. “It’s always difficult to get buy-in the first year of an initiative, but the folks who were there were enthusiastic, passionate, and bought-in.” Despite the pandemic, Dr. Haun and the VHSL pressed on, continuing their training through Zoom and finishing out Phase One strong.
“The InSideOut staff is excellent to work with and provide us with outstanding, easily-accessible resources,” Dr. Haun shared. “Anytime we call or email, they get back to us immediately and have been amazing to work with. The Washington Football Team has been extremely supportive as well. Anytime we can offer this level of professional development to our schools and it’s free to our members [thanks to the support of the NFL Foundation], that is something you don’t find much of. This opportunity is significant for us and we’re so grateful for the support of the Washington Football club.”
“We are proud to partner with a like-minded organization and appreciate the Initiative’s focus on the holistic approach to coaching and mentoring,” said Calvin Parson, the now-former director of the Community & Charitable Program for the Washington Football Team. “The best way to grow our game and to contribute to the growth and development of the next generation is to invest in them and to invest in the people they interact with the most. Through InSideOut, we are reaching young people through their coaches, athletic directors, principals and school district representatives who are out in the community on a daily basis, working to level the playing field for young people in our community.”
As Dr. Haun reflects on his experiences with InSideOut thus far, he shares the following advice for other executive directors considering getting involved. “Make the commitment. Adopt the program,” he advises. “When you just look at what InSideOut promotes—why do I coach? How do I develop young men and women to become better adults? Is it okay to set a goal to win? Sure. We should want to win, but that shouldn’t be the goal of athletics or why we coach. The goal is to develop young men and women. That’s the vision. That’s the purpose. When you have a program that promotes that, you should get involved.”
From the Washington Football Team’s standpoint, Parson’s philosophy is to inventory the current landscape of youth and high school sports and the education system overall. By doing so, “we received feedback that this type of training was not only relevant and timely, but something that school district representatives and coaches alike were looking for.”
“Joe, Jody, Barney, and Johnna all lead by example and are not only experts in this space, but care deeply about the work,” he elaborated. “The techniques and practices that are woven through the InSideOut process lead to transformative, purpose-driven coaching which ultimately leads to the transformation of lives for young people in a positive way.”
The InSideOut Initiative is a catalytic, mobilizing, systems-level, organization to promote purpose-based sports: connecting student-athletes to transformational coaches in a culture of belonging for their human growth development. Under Dr. Haun’s leadership, Virginia is one of four states (in addition to Missouri, Arizona and Washington) participating in a three-year longitudinal study measuring the social-emotional and character development impact of purpose-based sports.
The entire InSideOut team is thrilled to continue our work in Virginia with such transformational leaders, and sends a special thank you to the Washington Football Team Charitable Foundation, Virginia High School League and the NFL Foundation for their partnership.
For more information contact or how your state may participate, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of us at InSideOut would like to offer a sincere congratulations to Calvin Parson who has moved onto a new role at Loudoun County Public Schools. Calvin is continuing his graduate studies, and expanded his family with a new little addition in August 2021. We are grateful for his transformational leadership and all of us wish Calvin the best in all his future endeavors.