Maggie Vaults Over the Moon

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The ‘Missing Ingredient’ Youngsters Can Find On a Pole-Vault Runway


A report says the grit needed to persevere through challenging activities, such as  pole-vaulting, is a missing ingredient in today’s youth. Shown: Alyssa Wheeler, a state champion and nationally ranked vaulter from Wichita, Kan.

Is good old-fashioned grit the missing ingredient in today’s youth?

Yes it is, according to a report on today’s National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.  

In a segment titled, “Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?” reporter Tovia Smith says, “Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.”

NationalPublicRadioIn the interview, Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says, “This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit. It’s a very, I think, American idea in some ways — really pursuing something against all odds.”


It takes a lot of old-fashioned grit to learn to pole-vault.

Reporter Smith adds, “Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.” Then the reporter asks: Can grit be taught?

According to author Grant Overstake, the answer to that question can be found in a sport where youngsters are learning to face their fears, overcome obstacles, and triumph over gravity.

Raise the Bar Pole Vault Club “I think pole-vaulting is one of the greatest ways for a young person to develop grit,” Overstake says, “because it takes tremendous courage and self-will to keep going higher and higher over a rising crossbar. Grit is a great word to describe what all great and future great pole-vaulters have in abundance.”

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New Study: Teen Mental Health Improved by Exercise, Sports

Many grown-ups know firsthand that physical exercise can help overcome the angst of adult life. Now a new study suggest that physical activity, especially competitive sports, can be even more helpful for teens.

You might have heard the segment on today’s Morning Edition entitled, “Why Exercise May Do A  Teenage Mind Good,” touting nprlogo_138x46the value of daily physical activity for adolescents’ mental health.

HighResFrontCoverIn the report, Yale University child psychologist Alan Kazdin, the editor of Clinical Psychological Science, says the findings show just how bountiful the benefits of exercise can be.

“I think it would be too strong to call it an elixir, but it has the broad effects of something like that,” he says.

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is a new novel that retells the story of Maggie Steele, a farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas, who suffers a major tragedy in her life. Written by Grant Overstake, the story chronicles Maggie’s difficult rise to a brighter future through pole-vaulting, a very demanding form of exercise. Continue reading