Memorial Mentoring Program Inspires Youth in Elkhart and Beyond
The Charger Champion Athletic Council has a plan to help West Side Middle School athletes get ready for high school sports. What started as a successful mentorship at Woodland Elementary last year has grown this year to include West Side Middle School.
Jacquie Rost, Memorial’s Athletic Director, explains that her Athletic Council’s focus with the middle school students is on servant leadership. The eight students involved with the council chose the middle school as their next focus. One of the council’s concerns is incoming freshman participation in sports, and developing a way to reach middle school students to encourage athletic participation as they move up to high school.
The high school athletes participating in the program have their own expectations to meet. Jacquie explains that the students aren’t micromanaged. She reviews the materials with them, but ultimately they are responsible for their roles, and making a connection with the middle school athletes. Together, the students examine and work through the younger students’ struggles, and with every day conversation and follow-up questions from the large group lessons, they hope to better prepare them for the challenges ahead.
Acknowledging that not all incoming freshmen will be prepared to juggle sports, academics, home life, and social life, Jacquie helped the Athletic Council prepare monthly large group lessons for middle school athletes along with individual mentorships for athletes that may need a personal connection. The council, along with other Memorial athletes, are assigned to students who are considered leaders on their athletic teams, along with athletes who could benefit from individual attention. Some of the monthly topics and discussions covered with the students are academics, time management, mental toughness, and how to be coached. By preparing these students for what to expect, they hope to excite them and prepare them to become a successful Charger Champion in the near future.
The impressive mentorship that Memorial’s athletes established in at Woodland Elementary has now reached national attention, including a school in Vermont. Our Elkhart Community Schools staff and athletes were excited to hear that what they started here in Elkhart, Indiana may impact other schools and students throughout the country!