“The majority of our generation lives behind a filter. Whatever our flaw is, we edit it. Leaders can’t do that,” junior baseball player Jack Thomas said. “In order to lead, you have to be authentic and passionate in everything you do.”
On Nov. 10-13, Thomas attended the annual NCAA Student Athlete Leadership Forum in Baltimore, Maryland. Thomas was selected to represent the Great American Conference (GAC). Of over 460,000 student athletes in the NCAA, only 300 were selected to attend the forum, one male and female from each conference.
At the forum, the athletes were able to listen to previous NCAA athletes and be empowered by their stories while learning about the business side of the NCAA, such as budgeting and topics specific to each division.
According to Thomas, the biggest takeaway from the forum was learning that each conference is dealing with all the same things. He said it broadened his perspectives and empowered him to do more.
Thomas is also heavily involved with fundraising for the philanthropy of NCAA, Make-A-Wish Foundation. Schools in the GAC start fundraising. Each school usually averages around $1,000. According to Assistant Athletic Director Brenda Seawel, Thomas has spearheaded in this campaign.
“Jack challenged his fellow athletes to not only contribute, but to take ownership and actually grant a wish for a wish kid.” Seawel said.
Thomas has rallied Harding’s athletes to raise around $6,000 for the Make A Wish foundation. The athletes are only $2,000 short of their goal, which is to grant a wish.
“Our goal is to raise enough money to grant a wish for a child in the White County community” Thomas said. “We have taken this opportunity very seriously to impact a child’s life, and it’s very exciting”
Thomas is also a member of the Harding Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). an organization that is committed to enhancing the experience of student-athletes. According Seawel, the Harding division was almost nonexistent before Thomas got involved.
“The Harding SAAC has improved substantially in a short time,” Seawel said. “and I attribute that to Jack’s leadership.”