Diving Into Leadership

The 2019 Emerald Youth Swim Team

The 2019 Emerald Youth Swim Team

The Emerald Youth swim team enjoyed another successful season this summer, thanks in part to the leadership of two veteran members and lifelong friends, DJ Allen and Jamartray Gillis.

One way their leadership developed was by helping younger swimmers on the team. During a specific practice, the team needed a few extra volunteers to help with the younger participants, and DJ and Jamartray jumped right in to assist. They continued to mentor the young swimmers the rest of the summer.

“The team has been a safe place for DJ and Jamatray and helped their resiliency,” said longtime coach Doug Banister. “I am amazed at their joy and how different leadership traits have emerged in them.”

Banister, who has faithfully served as a volunteer coach with Emerald Youth for more than a decade, has developed a close relationship with the young men during their seven years on the team.

“DJ and Jamartray were looking for more ways to explore their passions. This role has helped them discover more about themselves and molded them into fine young leaders,” he said.

Emerald Youth Foundation uses sports to engage young people in understanding theimportance of caring for their bodies in God-honoring ways, and modeling Christ’s example in all areas, including serving others.

DJ’s mother, Brittany Allen, is thankful for Emerald Youth because, “They could be out there doing anything,” but being a part of the swim team and having a mentor like Doug Banister has helped keep her son established and inspired him to do better.

She said that by helping with the younger swimmers, DJ learned compassion, how to be in relationship with others and how to endure through difficulties.

Learn more about Emerald Youth’s swim program.

Brooke VanderSteeg