Updated: Dec 21, 2020
This past summer, I had the honor and privilege of working with Jack Bogan and Davis Ellis. They were Grit Camp counselors with us almost every week of this past summer. After putting in a full 4 hours of football practice each morning, they came over to Grit Camp and worked with us another 3 hours leading and instructing our young athletes. I appreciate these young men making the commitment, following through, and doing what they said they would do in addition to the incredible value they added to the Grit Camp experience.
Jack Bogan is a senior at Episcopal School of Jacksonville that plays offense and defense AND special teams for his football team. Jack lives up the street from us, and I remember when our boys were younger and we would see Jack and his dad up at the park practicing routes. This past week, he just signed to play Division I football at Davidson College next Fall. Additionally, he has a 4.72 GPA and scored 1540 on the SAT (out of 1600). He is also a varsity basketball player as well. He lives by this verse which is on his Twitter account: 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Davis Ellis is a senior at The Bolles School and his football team just played in their 2nd state championship game in 2 years. He has accepted an offer at University of Pennsylvania and plans to major in Business (Wharton) and play wide receiver. He has had 17+ Division 1 offers (so far) to play football and has a 4.2 GPA and 33 ACT score (out of 36). He also plans to play on the Varsity Basketball team at Bolles this winter. I had coached his younger brother in flag football, and I had reached out to Davis thinking he would be a great asset to Grit Camp. I didn't quite fully understand yet how much of an incredible asset he would end up being not only has an exceptional counselor, but also because he introduced us to Jack and Kurt.
We were very fortunate to have these two young men along with their life long friend Kurt Greiner work with us this summer. Kurt Greiner was tracking to be the QB for Bolles but had a back injury at the end of the summer that prevented him from playing this season; however, he was still able to support his team from the sidelines all the way to the State Championship game. To be able to have these 3 star athletes help, lead, and instruct our 6-12 year old athletes was an incredible opportunity for our younger campers. These high school athletes were the big athletic brothers some of these kids never had, and Jack, Davis, and Kurt showed these kids that by working hard at your craft you can do amazing things. I know these young men will go on to do some even more incredible things, but the difference and impact they made on these young people might just be some of their finest work. By learning to become the best version of themselves, Jack, Davis, and Kurt set an amazing example and inspired these kids in ways they won't quite understand until later in life.
And if I didn't know their character was solid enough, they even showed up as a guest appearance at my 8 year old's birthday party this Fall - dressed up in character to the theme of the party 'Brawlstars!' They then played nerf gun war with the kids which made the party even more special for the kids.
One of the greatest life lessons a high school student (and soon to be college athlete) can learn is the knowledge and application of having helped inspire a young person. They can say things to these young people that 'strikes a cord' where if it comes from me or their parents, then it's just not quite the same. They have 'lived it' more recently than us adults and it lends itself to having more credibility with the young people. I hope these young men continue to 'pass it on' as I know it will help them become stronger men as well. As we say in our Grit Creed - "I will lead by example because my purpose is larger than me." These men have absolutely lived that creed, and I know that what they put into the lives of others will come back into their own ten fold, and it will help them experience true happiness and gratitude throughout their life.
I'd encourage you to follow these young men on their journey as I know life has big plans for them!
Kurt Greiner: https://twitter.com/kurtgreiner7
Davis Ellis: https://twitter.com/davisellis_
Jack Bogan: https://twitter.com/jackbogan_
Pictured below: Kurt, Davis, and Jack (in order)
Pictured below: Jack, Davis, and then Kurt (far right) in Pee Wee football