MHS Housefathers Are Passing Healthy Lifestyles to Their Students
This school year, a group of Milton Hershey School housefathers decided to take their soccer skills to the next level by creating a competitive team. As role models for the students in their care, this group of MHS housefathers is teaching wellness by example through their participation in the Men’s Open Spring Soccer League at In the Net Sports Complex in Palmyra, Pennsylvania.
The idea of playing soccer together started more than 10 years ago when the housefathers began organizing pick-up games every Tuesday and Friday. This year, the group decided to take the skills they gained on the soccer fields of MHS to the indoor fields in Palmyra.
The team—the Mealbus Football Club—is comprised of Middle and Senior Division housefathers, a few individuals that are MHS retirees, and a few siblings of MHS employees. The group still practices on Tuesdays and Fridays and has found it to be a great way to hold each other accountable to health and fitness while also creating strong bonds with each other.
“Soccer and this team give us an outlet to foster our mental and physical health. Not to mention the comradery between co-workers and friends,” shared Phil Bertrand and Joe Hoover, Senior Division housefathers.
Mealbus FC and the housefathers’ initiative to make health and fitness a priority encourages their students to become active too. “Our students often mention to us that they saw us playing while they were running around the track during gym class,” said Nate Godfrey, a Senior Division housefather. On that note, Mr. Bertrand added, “A lot of it is about positive role modeling.”
These housefathers enjoy soccer year-round—even the snow does not stop them. When it is too cold to play outside, they will often play in the Health Center gym on campus, sometimes bringing their students. Every fall, the housefathers also get together to play against the high school boys and girls soccer teams.
“We are constantly being reminded, in our houseparent roles, of the importance of health and wellness,” said Mr. Godfrey. “We encourage each other to come out and play, and to make sure we’re each taking care of ourselves. That type of encouragement also spills over to our students.”
The friendship, team building, and activeness displayed by this team of housefathers sets a positive and admirable example for all students and staff across campus.