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Galt High School alumnus Jack Jenkins hopes to bring character to athletics

Committee rewards good-hearted athletes with money for college

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Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 12:00 am

The tight end on the high school football team may not win many scholarships, simply because he is not as visible as other players. But he’s never missed a practice and is always at the side of injured peers. That is the type of character a community group in Galt would like to recognize with four scholarships next spring — two each for Liberty Ranch and Galt high schools. College money collected through a fundraiser earlier this year was already distributed to students last month.

But there is more to the Galt Area Committee of Character in Sports.

Committee members want to change the culture of sports so they’re not all about winning. Instead, sports should teach student athletes life skills such as how to handle adversity, according to Jack Jenkins.

“Wnning is not everything,” he said. “Kids are being pushed at such a young age, it takes the fun out of the game.”

He should know. Both of his sons played baseball from a young age and later went professional.

“I’ve seen a lot of the right way and a lot of the wrong way to do things,” Jenkins said of coaching. “I know what it takes to get through high school sports.”

The Galt High School alumnus, who now lives in Stockton, founded the committee last year. Despite no longer making his home in Galt, Jenkins said he reached out to the community because it is still small enough that he could work with several organizations at once, from the Chamber of Commerce to the school districts.

He is meeting next week with Police Chief William Bowen to discuss how the committee’s efforts could combine with the new Police Activities League.

Councilwoman Barbara Payne is on the committee, which helps choose deserving students.

But the committee’s efforts are not aimed solely at student athletes. Committee members are also working to develop character in both coaches and parents through the moniker “Honor the Game,” Jenkins said.

They are the ones who can help athletes see the big picture by serving as role models and demonstrating positive attitudes, he said.

To do this, the committee joined up with the Galt Joint Union High School District and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to receive training from the Postive Coaching Alliance.

The committee raised $5,000 in less than a year to pay for the two workshops presented by the Postive Coaching Alliance and attended by close to five dozen coaches and athletic directors from both high schools in Galt. A second workshop was attended by 35 city sports coaches.

Future parent workshops are being coordinated by the high schools.

Meanwhile, Jenkins, who retired from the San Joaquin County Office of Education, is speaking to civic organizations on the topic of character in sports. To have him speak at your group, learn more about the Galt Area Committee of Character in Sports or make a donation, call Jenkins at 209-471-2135.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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