Jake Barnes | Person of the Year Letter

My favorite “extra curricular” event that I have been associated with is the Standing Rocks Invite cross country event in late August.  Then Amherst cross country coach Tom Fochs and I put it together with then Athletic Director Bill Schweitzer (sp?). Then cross country coach Maggie Woodside coined the name of the event and here we are about 8 years later still putting the event together. It’s a small cross country meet with about 7 or 8 teams attending, but the kids really enjoy the course and some better finishes as it is a smaller event.

Having been involved in running, biking, skiing and triathlons for many years, and generally being an active person, I just simply get a kick out of seeing our local youth getting off the couch and participating in some of these events. They don’t have to win, or place in the top 3, but just simply get out there and develop an enjoyment of being active. I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen finish dead last in an event, only to become a pretty good runner or skier, as they became “hooked” on the sport.

The Jensen Center rec soccer program will always be a favorite of mine as well. Having previously coordinated the program, and still being active in it, I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see elementary and middle school kids having a blast and developing a sense of teamwork at a young age. But, the real credit for the program really needs to go to the Jensen Center on this one!

We’re very fortunate in the Amherst area to have an outstanding group of individuals who will “pitch in” when something comes along. Without people willing to step up, a lot of the organizations and programs I’ve been associated with will not have done what they’ve done. It’s as simple as that! It’s been a good ride.

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