Youth centers share importance of ICE League

One of a kind. That’s how Qiana Clemens, Chief Operating Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie describes the ICE League.

“The League is the essence of what the student athlete should represent,” Clemens says, emphasizing the importance of academics and character messaging presented by the League.

“A student who knows these values at a young age will be a student who is set up for success for the future,” Clemens said. “These kids represent our community, our state. The continuation of the League is vital for the community because the kids are our future.”

The diversity of the student athletes who participate in the ICE League is another asset, Clemens said.

“The ICE League teaches our kids to play with others who may not come from where they come from,” Clemens said of the League, which encourages participation at local community centers. “Exposing kids to community centers helps to grow the social and emotional well-being of our students.”

Four centers recruit, coach and sponsor teams for the ICE League each year – the Boys & Girls Club, Buley Center, Ross Center and YMCA. The League is overseen by Project Leadership with the Ball Brothers Foundation as its founding partner.

Jacquie Hanoman, Executive Director at the Ross Center, Muncie, is in the fifth year of participating in the ICE League, for which her center hosts and sponsors a girls’ and a boys’ team. Jacquie identifies three areas of the ICE League that are important to her:

“I really enjoy the collaboration between Project Leadership, the Ball Brothers Foundation and the centers,” Jacquie said. “Second, I love to see the kids blossom through mentoring.”

The most important part of the League, Jacquie said: “The focus on academics with sportsmanship.”

“That is why we continue in the League each year,” Jacquie said. “It’s not a focus on GPA so you can play. It’s a focus on GPA so you can be a lifelong learner and understand the importance of that in your life.”