Athletes lead character training

Integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership are the character traits that John Brown University’s Champions of Character program hopes to help instill in 250 of students from five different area schools this weekend.

Champions of Character is a group focused on changing the culture that surrounds sports.

Senior volleyball player Allie Rankin said the event this weekend is the culmination of two years of leading JBU’s Champions of Character chapter.

“Like it or not, an athlete is a leader on campus,” said Rankin. This event will be another way JBU athletes can be leaders in the community as well as on campus.

Sophomore Staci Williamson, who has been planning the event with Rankin, said this is not like the Game Day events that have been put on in the past because it will focus much more on developing character in the students who attend the event.

Game Days consist of children from the area coming to the campus to play games with JBU athletes.

This event will be different because the student athletes will lead small groups of students in teambuilding activities then talk through what the students learned through the activities.

“This event is aimed at looking at those core values and developing them,” said Rankin.

Another way that Game Days are different from the Champions of Character event is that this is a field trip for the five area schools that are sending students.

The three groups from Arkansas that will attend the event are from Springdale’s alternative school, Gentry’s sixth through eighth grades, Siloam Springs’ middle school and their student council.

Moseley Public School and Watts High School’s FCA from Oklahoma will also be coming to the Champions of Character event.

“Some of those kids have never been here before,” said Rankin, “For them to finally come to this hopefully establishes some really good connections.”

Rankin and JBU’s Athletic Director Robyn Daugherty decided to take advantage of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament being hosted at JBU March 1-3, by hosting the Champions of Character event at the same time.

This way the students attending the event also get to attend the tournament after their hour-long training session.

Williamson and Daugherty hope to continue hosting Champions of Character events in the future.