The Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

Society Testimonial by Linda L. Morse, New Jersey The pessimist complains about the

Society Testimonial by Linda L. Morse, New Jersey

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward

Navigating the seas of state government can be challenging. There are times when you just want to “abandon ship” and swim to shore without a life
preserver. If you are a skilled swimmer, maybe you survive the sharks. In state government, the storms come and go with the political winds.
Learning to navigate those waters takes time, patience, and friends who truly understand.

I did not “join” the Society. I didn’t even know what it was—it sounded like an exclusive club. Kathy Wilbur, Maine’s school health guru, cornered
me at a CDC meeting and said, “You have to join the Society.” Peer pressure at its best! I joined, I stayed, and I learned. Society members shared a
common goal: improving the health of kids. We understood the unique languages of health education, physical education, public health, and government.
We knew a lot of acronyms and understood the language of standards and assessment. We were truly multilingual!

We shared our successes and analyzed our shortcomings. We complained about the paperwork and politics and laughed about the idiosyncrasies of working
for state government. Our leadership skills were valued and appreciated and utilized. Through it all, we were there for each other.

School health was but a dot in the sea of education so I didn’t get much support on the job. Sometimes, I would come to a Society meeting feeling
pessimistic. However, just being with my Society colleagues and hearing their stories inspired me to stay onboard and row harder. Once back at the
office, reality set in but I learned how to adjust the sails and stay afloat. And, whenever I felt like abandoning ship, I would talk with one of my
Society colleagues who would listen and understand.

The Society helped me stay onboard for 18 years—navigating the changing political waters at the state and federal level. I learned how to navigate
choppy waters, adjust the sails, and set a new course for success. Set sail with the Society — we can help you survive the storms ahead!

Linda L. Morse, New Jersey

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