Live Like Sam recently spoke with Sam’s dad, Ron Jackenthal, about Sam’s experience attending Woodward camps. Ron praised the Woodward culture and explained how much it aligns with Live Like Sam’s mission to support the positive development of young athletes. Read on to see what Ron had to say.
Live Like Sam: Why did you want to talk about the ties between Sam and Woodward?
Ron Jackenthal: Live Like Sam exists to honor the legacy of Sam’s character by helping other young athletes excel not only in sport, but also in life. While Sam was an extraordinary person and gracious by nature, the affect Woodward had on his attitude, gratitude and overall outlook on life cannot be overstated. Woodward helped shape Sam into a young man that others wanted to follow – a young man that exemplified the power of positive reinforcement and creative personal progression – and it continues to turn young athletes into remarkable competitors and even better people.
LLS: How did Woodward help Sam advance in sport?
RJ: Woodward was hands down Sam’s favorite place in the world. He started attending Woodward camps at the age of 10, when he could barely stand up straight on a pair of inline skates. Fast forward through four years of programs at Woodward West and one season at Woodward PA, and Sam’s the number one amateur aggressive inline skater in the world in his age bracket, twice winning the AIL Championship.
While his progression under the tutelage of world-class coaches like Jason Stinsmen was impressive, his growth as a human far outweighed any accolades he received in sport. This growth was very much encouraged and supported by the culture and community at Woodward, and his personal development was tangible year after year.
LLS: What makes Woodward different from other action sport camps?
RJ: Woodward offers young athletes an environment in which they can push their limits, test the boundaries and go big. During his training at camp, Sam learned that perseverance and dedication are necessary to succeed, and that failing is simply part of progressing. He learned to never give up and to have fun in the process.
All of these lessons can be attributed to two things: Woodward’s incredible staff and the culture they have cultivated. Year after year, Woodward’s team members share their amazing talents, character and spirit with impressionable young athletes in search of positive role models.
LLS: What was it like sending Sam off to camp – far from home and to an unknown environment?
RJ: Being a parent of an adrenaline junky can be a scary thing. Even for parents who participate in action sports themselves, sending your son or daughter off to camp can be daunting for a number of reasons. Fear for your child’s safety might top that list – but Woodward has that covered. By only hiring the best of the best and providing the safest possible training environment, campers are free to go big and progress at their own speed with less risk than virtually anywhere else.
A common, less-discussed concern is the fear of needing to “retrain” your child post-camp. The thought of sending your adrenaline-fueled kid off to the ultimate adrenaline playground may make you question what affect such an environment might have. With Woodward, however, the decision to send your child back could not be easier. Year after year, Sam would return home with more gratitude and more maturity than he left home with.
LLS: Why did Live Like Sam want to partner with Woodward and what do you see for the future of this partnership?
RJ: Sam’s experiences at Woodward helped shape who he was as an athlete and as a human. Woodward played a vital role in solidifying his character and taught him how to treat everyone he encountered with respect, humility and grace. Its programs taught him the importance of gratitude and hard work, and its team members instilled in him a sense of purpose, self-worth and – most of all – fun.
Woodward’s mission to empower young athletes to progress in sport and in life through creative expression, positive personal development and a culture of community aligns perfectly with Live Like Sam’s core CARE principles of Community, Athletics, Responsibility and Education.
We know that even the toughest of goals can be reached through teamwork and perseverance – and we are honored to call Woodward one of our team members.
Just as Woodward played a positive role in Sam’s short life, Live Like Sam wants to play a lasting role in the lives of Woodward’s young athletes. We believe that if we work together, anything is possible.
Learn about the 2019 Summer Camp Merit Scholarship to Woodward West.