Monday, August 26, 2013

UGA has become a short distance away

I met Scott Stricklin about 12 years ago when he was a young assistant coach at Georgia Tech under the leadership of head coach Danny Hall. He later coached at Vanderbilt and his alma mater Kent State University where he played for Danny Hall. 
Scott was learning the ropes of coaching and networking just like me. I was developing the talents of players on travel teams through private instruction for a fee preparing them to play in college. 

I have always viewed Scott as the consummate professional. He has always been approachable and uses his ability to coach as a means to develop other coaches and players.

Scott Stricklin and CJ Stewart
Ultimately, coaching is about taking someone from where they are to where they need to be. In most cases, players have no idea of where they need to be. Thus the need for a coach. The title of coach shouldn't be taken for granted. 

L.E.A.D.'s mission is to empower an at risk generation to lead and transform their city. We use baseball as a vehicle to do that. We have partnered with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) since 2008 to serve an at risk generation. A generation of youth that doesn't realize the full value of a high school and college education. This is demonstrated in the fact that 60% of African-American males are not graduating from APS high schools.  Click here to see L.E.A.D.'s Impact Stats. 

L.E.A.D. is more than activities. We shift the mindsets of our Ambassadors from individuals to the consideration of an entire city.

CJ Stewart at UGA's Foley Field
Today I was able to share L.E.A.D.'s mission with the new University of Georgia head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. I was joined by Kevin Young who serves as the head coach for the Martin Luther Middle School Cobras. The King Cobras are one of eight middle schools in our year round Middle School Character Development League in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools (APS). Kevin is also a teacher at Grove Park Elementary School (APS).

Coach Kevin Young at UGA's Foley Field
Scott listened to our organization mission with understanding as well as with sincere concern for the increase of African-American males competing as student-athletes in the sport of baseball within the NCAA. There are less than 6% of African-Americans competing in baseball within the NCAA. Think about what Atlanta feels like if we have more African-American males from APS graduating from college.

Coach Kevin Young, Courtney Gay (UGA Student Affairs) and CJ Stewart
All it takes to change the culture of baseball in the inner city of Atlanta is for someone like Scott to care through speech and action. Scott is in an amazing position of influence as the head baseball coach at the University of Georgia.  I look forward to opportunities for our Ambassadors to be empowered by Scott and exposed to the legacy of the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

L.E.A.D. is on a new mission...will you join us?

L.E.A.D. is on a mission with a new mission. We are now empowering an at-risk generation to lead and transform the city of Atlanta. When we do this, our Ambassadors will lead their city to lead the world.

The Varsity is an iconic restaurant founded by Reinhardt University graduate Frank Gordy
We do a lot and get great results and with so much going on, an outsider can easily get confused about what L.E.A.D. does. So I reached out to my good friend Brad Steele at Leader Enterprises seeking help for L.E.A.D.'s messaging and branding. With the support of the creative team at Leader Enterprises, we will be launching our new Pathway to Empowerment for our high school Ambassadors and middle school LEADers soon. It's a game changer in youth development.

L.E.A.D. Ambassadors Cornelius Reed is a freshman at Paine College with a baseball scholarship

Want to lead with us, click here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sometimes you have to just unplug and go to the country

I recently spent two days with my wife and daughters in Pine Mountain, GA with cousin Ruby or better known as "Big Mama". What a time what a time. It's still fresh on my mind. 
On Sunday, we pulled up in just enough time to play 3 on 3 football with my young male cousins ranging in age of 6 to 14. My 12 year old daughter Mackenzi played also. Mackenna was surprisingly busy playing with the family dog "Rock". She is usually afraid of dogs but not this one. Maybe it was the country life getting the best of her.
Mackenna with "Rock"

As the street lights came on, we were sure to head home.

I stayed up for a little while to laugh and watch Shark Week but I was super tired. The kids went to bed around 2AM as expected. 

On Monday morning, we woke to breakfast. Man you can't beat breakfast in the country and a cup of coffee. 

We played football for about an hour in the back yard. Mackenzi got over her fear of playing football with the boys and scored our only two touchdowns on deep passes. We lost 16 to 21.  For the first time, Mackenzi even drank out of a water hose.

After sitting around watching TV and starving to death until Kelli came back with the food, my cousin "Meathead" cooked fat sausages and burgers. He has passion for cooking and could be an up and coming celebrity chef. 

Filling full and looking for something fun to do, we went to the Wildlife Safari. This place is crazy. You drive for 3 miles in the safari in your own car feeding lions, giraffes, donkeys, ostrich, llamas and just about anything else that you can think of. We laughed so much. Couldn't stop thinking about the Jurassic Park movie though.

On Tuesday, we woke up to breakfast again. This place is amazing. No football for me today though. I'm getting too old. Of course they asked to play hundreds of time. I'm praying for child like energy to hang with them. 

Kelli, the girls and I went to visit a friend then stopped by Callaway Gardens. We used to go there all the time for family reunions when I was a kid. It was really special to go back as an adult with my ladies. Mackenna was scared to death on the paddle boats on the lake. I remember my first experience on the paddle boats as a kid with my dad like it was yesterday. We also got some good exercise riding through bike trails. We stopped riding bikes for a brief moment and found a shaded area near the lake and prayed as a family lead by Mackenzi.

This trip reconnected me with my family in more ways that I could imagine. Thank you Cousin Ruby for the southern hospitality!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Want to lead Atlanta and the world?

The 2012-13 L.E.A.D. Ambassador year is complete. I have learned a lot about leadership in 2013 from both good and bad experiences. My patience, commitment and dedication to mentoring students and coaches has been tested and I'm still standing by the grace of God.

Our 3-month fall Legacy League season will begin on August 24th and 25th with our interview and field tryout process at Booker T. Washington High School. 

We are willing to meet young men where they are and put them on a path of empowerment. Our pillars of excellence are academics, athletics, commerce and civic. Stay tuned for a 12-month process that will transform young men from an individual mindset to one that considers their school, city and world. It is going to be a game changer. 

L.E.A.D. is a proud partner of Atlanta Public Schools and we are seeking a few young men that want to lead Atlanta and the world.

For more information about our application process, click here.