Jake started with Spirit League from first to fifth grade, and his favorite sport was baseball (basketball was a close second). As a current high school junior, he is giving back to the Spirit League community by volunteering at our recent basketball picture day and supporting athletes with special needs. He reports that his time with Spirit League helped improve his communication skills and ability to work alongside other people using good sportsmanship. He continues saying that without the skills learned at Spirit League, he would likely not excel in high school in multiple areas, including the cross-country team and working on group projects.

“My collaboration and communication skills would be more flawed today had it not been for me learning to interact with others in a team environment such as Spirit League at an early age,” reports Jake.

special needs athlete Jake with Spirit League Executive Director Melanie Smith

Jake with Spirit League Executive Director Melanie Smith

When asked about his advice to new Spirit League athletes, Jake says, “I would tell an incoming athlete to focus on improving collaboration skills by being part of a team dynamic. I would also say that it is important to make new friends along the way and talk to as many people as possible. I still have friends today that I met in Spirit League almost ten years ago, and being in Spirit League is definitely a great way to create long-lasting relationships with others. Most importantly of all, Spirit League should be a place for the athletes to let go of their worries and have fun. The athletes should do their best to have fun and enjoy the opportunity of being in such an amazing program.Jake embodies the Spirit League mission of creating a community where athletes with developmental disabilities thrive.

He was an exceptional participant and is now an exceptional supporter, giving back to the community that guided him. Jake, we are so proud of you and know you will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.