Diversity & Inclusion
Education / Leadership / Sports

Strive’s Sports Leadership Academy celebrates its 21st summer challenge

The camp teaches student-athletes to bring leadership skills off the field and into their daily lives.

Ardavia Lee, second from right, and Jake Blaisdell, left, at the Strive awards ceremony. (Courtesy photo)

One hundred student-athletes from 15 states gathered in Middletown on Friday, July 27 for the 21st Strive Sports Challenge, a residential, nine-day, character-driven leadership academy. Seventy-nine of the student-athletes were granted scholarships to the program, totaling $115,000.

The yearly summer Sports Challenge combines basketball, soccer and lacrosse with mentoring, coursework and diversity.

“The power of Sports Challenge lies in the fact that student-athletes are expected to take their leadership development one step further from discussing theory in the classroom — they are then expected to demonstrate what a leadership skill  like empathy looks like at practice, in the dining hall, on their dorms with people who look, feel, speak and think very differently from themselves,” said Andrea Valentine, executive director of Strive, which is based at The Mill. “At Sports Challenge, student-athletes have the time to practice these skills in a positive, dynamic, fun culture. The ultimate goal is for our student-athletes to now take the skills and tools they learn here to catalyze change in their own communities, teams, and schools.”

One of the two winners of the Sports Challenge overall Program Award for Growth & Development for 2018 was one of the 15 Delaware student athletes, Ardavia Lee of New Castle, who attends Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club and St. Elizabeth High School. Lee is also a Strive intern and counselor at Tyler’s Camp.

“Sports Challenge taught me things I didn’t have a name for before, like growth mindset,” said Lee. “I also learned that there are different types of leadership styles — all of which are effective if you know when to use them.”

In addition to Lee, Jake Blaisdell, of Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., was also awarded the Program Award for Growth & Development.

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