Alliance Update

Spring 2012
Emily Bundy BCMSA President

A Lesson in the Power of Perspective: Spring General Meeting

Approximately 20 Alliance members came out to the Spring General Meeting. Our speaker Chris Kaag, owner of Corps Fitness and Founder of the IMAble Foundation, shared his inspirational personal story of being diagnosed at the age of 21 with AMN (Adrenomyeloneuropathy), a degenerative nerve condition that affects his ability to walk. Instead of letting this condition control his life, he chose to view this obstacle as a stepping stone to motivate others to “redefine the way they view their personal challenges.” He demonstrates the power of perspective while motivating others around him to achieve their full potential. For example, Chris replaces the phrase “I can’t” with “I have the opportunity to…” climb a mountain, run a gym, help others achieve their goals.

When you first meet Chris Kaag and you see he is in a wheel chair you may have some preconceived ideas about things he can and cannot accomplish. Yet when you hear his story you are forced to adjust your perspective. Chris’s story reminded me of another titled “Two Battleships” which is told by Frank Koch in Proceeding, the magazine of the Naval Institute. Below is the version as retold in Stephen Covey’s 1989 The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Think of this story next time your preconceived notions are challenged.

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch in the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out. Lookout replied, “Steady captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you to change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send: I’m captain, change course 20 degrees.”

“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”

By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send: I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”

We changed course. Chris teaches people that you don’t know your limits until you challenge them. We often short change ourselves, assuming what is or is not possible before attempting to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. As Alliance members we will keep this in mind as we approach our own organization-wide challenges such as increasing membership, expanding community support, and fundraising. Like Chris, we will try to push our limits in the upcoming year and achieve success in these areas. Thank you for challenging us to change our perspective when viewing obstacles like these, so that we get the opportunity to achieve more than we may have thought possible!

Health in Balance Series

Thank you to Kalpa Solanki , her team, and our panel of speakers for producing a high quality program again this year. In total, over 50 people were in attendance. Over half (13 out of 19) of all school districts in Berks County were represented at the program (see chart & map). Additionally, representatives from Schuylkill , Lancaster, Northampton and Philadelphia Counties were present. The audience consisted of school nurses (both public and private), physical education teachers, preschool directors, parents of children with diabetes, Alliance members and members of the general public. Feedback from the surveys indicated that participants found the program enjoyable, informative and well executed. Topics suggested by attendees for consideration in next year’s program included asthma, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and mental health topics.

Schools and School Districts Represented at the Program

  • Wilson School District
  • Kutztown School District
  • Twin Valley School District
  • Hamburg School District
  • Conrad Weiser School District
  • Wyomissing School District
  • Exeter School District
  • Fleetwood School District
  • Schuykill Valley School District
  • Muhlenberg School District
  • Blue Mountain School District
  • Jewish Federation of Reading & Preschool
  • Lehigh Valley Academy
  • Saint Ignatius
  • Cocalico School District (Lancaster County)
  • Brandywine School District

Changing of the Board

Thank you to the 2011-2012 board members for their time and dedication! A special thank you to this year’s Alliance President, DeeDee Burke for her great leadership and cheerful smile. May next year’s board strive to maintain the same high standards established this year and in years prior. The new board will be installed on May 8th at Off the Avenue Café.


As always, if you are interested in joining or coming to a meeting contact Amy Impellizzeri at Don’t forget to check out our website at and “like” us on Facebook!

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