Saturday, September 21, 2019

Empowering the Young for Life: National Scholastic Athletics Foundation Provides Opportunity, Training, and Vision for Young Athletes

Jim Spier has been a fan of track and field since he was a high school student in the late 1950s. When he attended track and field events as an adult he got interested in the Junior events (under 20) and noticed that the Junior teams did not represent the makeup of the top high school track and field athletes in the nation. Together with his friend, Mike Byrnes, they did some digging, asking questions and studying the process. What Jim and Mike learned is that many young high school athletes could not advance to higher level sanctioned events. On their own, they launched an effort in the mid 1980s to identify and promote promising young high school track and field athletes. This effort eventually led to the founding of the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) in 1990.

“We are always here to help athletes have a chance to participate. Mike and I saw early on that there were a lot of junior athletes in track and field who simply could not get to meets and participate. We dedicated ourselves early on to helping these young people to get to events, get the guidance they needed, and to compete,” explained Jim.

The official mission of the NSAF is to help students live “healthy and active lifestyles, and to prepare them for success.” This inspirational goal is made into reality for thousands of high school athletes through the year round efforts of Jim and other top leaders of the NSAF who work to develop and promote a series of national track and field events and trainings here and abroad.

From these early efforts by Jim Spier and Mike Byrnes to promote junior track and field events in the mid 1980s, the NSAF has grown to become one of the nation’s premiere sport event sponsors, training organizations, and non-profit organizations designed and committed to the development of young people.

Today, the NSAF promotes the largest high school indoor and outdoor track and field meets with the New Balance National Indoor (4200 participants) and Outdoor (4800 participants), as well as a Cross Country Festival, a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Cross Country Event, a Caribbean Invitational, and various clinics and training events throughout the year at various locations….all to help young athletes. Thousands of high school students participate each year in NSAF events and clinics.

The many great things about the NSAF come from the character and inspired work of the NSAF staff, led by Jim Spier, CEO, and Joy Kamini, COO.

To read the rest of this article, check out the latest issue of High School Illustrated – USA National Edition for iPad and iPhone, completely free on the App Store.

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