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TL Supervisor Inspires Milton Hershey School Students to Commit to Health and Fitness

By Jonathan Small, Transitional Living Area Supervisor

Growing up, my dad was nicknamed “Peter Pan” because of his youthful energy and focus on fitness. I always thought that was a great characteristic and in the back of my mind, aspired to be that way too when I grew up.

At a recent reunion with old friends, one posed a question to the group, “What is something that you are proud of at this stage in your life?” As I thought about the question, I realized I had many possible answers—my family, my career, some accomplishments—but my final answer was one that puzzled the group. I said, “My health and fitness journey.”

Truthfully, I am proud of the fact that I have maintained a regular regimen of healthy activity since high school which has kept me spry. I am able to both play epic games of hide-and-seek with my daughter and still compete with high school seniors in team sports.

Jonathon Small and wife, Katie kayaking

Since graduating from college, where I played soccer, I have run races (5Ks, half marathons), competed in a triathlon or two, played competitive men’s league soccer, dabbled in CrossFit, and consistently found new ways to enjoy the great outdoors while, at the same time, exercising.

But the reason I stated that I was proud of my health and wellness journey is because I have developed a daily habit of planning, organizing, and completing a quality 30-minute workout each morning. This habit has not only helped me to maintain and improve fitness, it has evolved into something more. It has become a stabilizing part of my day that springboards my body, mind, and heart into readiness for what is to come.

Jonathon Small and wife, Katie work on their fitness with marathon

My health and fitness journey has added value to my career at Milton Hershey School. I was a soccer coach for several years and I could still demonstrate drills and also play with my players.

As a member of the Transitional Living team at MHS, I can still keep up with the Senior Division students and play basketball, ultimate Frisbee, or go on a two-mile run with them at 5:30 a.m. around campus. I am also more present in the TL community as I bike or walk to student buildings to visit allowing me the opportunity for frequent check-ins.

Jonathon Small, Antonio Flores, and Mr. Hanna participate in race to work on fitness

In the end, I hope that my approach to wellness inspires MHS students to stay young in body, mind, and spirit like I have managed to do and my father before me.

To quote Peter Pan, “Once you’re grown up, you can never come back.” One way to make sure you stay young is by staying fit.

Jonathan Small was nominated as a Wellness Warrior at MHS.

Milton Hershey School is carefully following federal and state guidelines, CDC considerations, and MHS-established health and safety protocols to keep our campus a safe, nurturing, and healthy place. Any group photos of unmasked subjects were taken prior to the face coverings mandate.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.