The ADVANCE Mid-State League 2019 Leadership Summit on Sept 10 was a major success with over 450 students and coaches from Mid-State League member schools in attendance. The purpose of the event was to develop student-athletes into effective leaders within their teams and the broader community. Athletic Director David Bireline said, "to build this relationship between our university and the Mid-State League is very exciting for us as an athletic department. So many people played a role in making it happen, and we hope we can continue this relationship in the years to come."
Ohio Christian President Jon Kulaga opened the summit, welcoming the attendees and stating the goal of the event. “There are three purposes of today,” Dr. Kulaga said. “One is to educate, one is to inspire, and one is to give you some practical things to do.”
The summit included sessions from sports professionals, nationally renowned speakers, and government figures. Noteworthy presenters included Dr. Joe Savage, founder and executive director of Roads of Hope; Phil Savage, senior advisor for the New York Jets; and Dr. Ronald Layton, retired Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information for the United States Secret Service.
Throughout the day, the students were challenged to consider the character of a leader both on and off the field. Phil and Joe Savage shared their four C’s on what it takes to be successful: coachability, character, competitiveness, and compassion. They encouraged the students to challenge themselves to always improve.
“You cannot have victory unless you have an opponent,” Joe Savage said. “You’ve got to decide what it is that you compete against and that’s what you go after, even if that is against yourself.”
The event closed with an address from Layton, who told the students that there are no shortcuts to greatness. He encouraged them to work hard and never underestimate the impact of their beliefs.
“Remember this,” Layton said, “dreams are free. They don’t cost you anything. So, because they are free, always dream big.”
Almost every speaker, however, reiterated the most important characteristic of a strong leader, and that is to believe in something bigger than oneself. Ohio Christian strives to develop servant leaders who have a faith deeply rooted in Christ so they can impact the world.
At the conclusion of the summit, two student-athletes for each school in attendance were awarded the ADVANCE Student-Athlete Leadership Scholarship of $3,500 to attend Ohio Christian. To qualify for the scholarship, students had to demonstrate academic success, community service, leadership on and off the court, selflessness, and contribute to their sport. $98,000 scholarship dollars were awarded to 28 students from 14 schools.
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