While I was addressing envelopes to send out flyers for our 19th Brad Stone Summer Classic, I was thinking about all the other college scholarships that Lake Fenton High Schools seniors have available to them. Each spring, I, as well as a dozen or so other community members, recognize the successful students at Senior Awards Night. Duanita Elford, the high school counselor, said on average, approximately $500,000 to $700,000 is awarded each year to Lake Fenton seniors. This is a combination of college and university scholarships, as well as local scholarships.

 One scholarship that I’ve noticed quietly growing over the years gets its funds from a youth basketball program called Youth Jet League, which Steve Scott has overseen for the past 16 years. Steve and his wife, Jill, have four kids, Spencer, Parker, and twins Sawyer and Sidney, all of whom graduated from Lake Fenton. Steve got involved with the league 18 years ago when their kids played in it. Last year, Steve awarded a $4,000 scholarship and this year he expects to hand out $5,000. I’ve been friends with the Scotts for many years and was shocked with how much the youth basketball program was able to raise for college scholarships. I asked him to tell me more about the league and how it generates money for the scholarship. He said the program has been around for about 30 years and started through the district’s old community education program. The league, which lasts eight weeks, is for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. What’s great about this league is that every player, boy and girl, plays and they all learn the fundamentals of basketball. Refs are certified and are the same ones who ref at the high school level. Steve oversees the scheduling and works with the schools, coaches, referees and volunteers to bring it all together. Steve said the high school varsity teams volunteer on game day Saturdays selling tickets, and working the clock and concession stand. The varsity teams earn money for their teams this way. Any leftover team fees go toward college scholarships for participants of the Youth Jet League. Steve said Superintendent Julie Williams has told him that this league is an example of how all youth leagues should be run. Steve is proud of how this program has grown and how it recycles money back to the Lake Fenton community. “It’s a real positive environment and Lake Fenton teams make money,” he said.

 To Duanita and Steve, as well as the other many committed community members who make a difference with our young people, thank you.

Opinions offered by Editor Sharon Stone are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the Editor at sstone@tctimes.com.

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