David Binnie – Official Visit to the University of Maine Fort Kent.
I was very fortunate to have realised a long held ambition a fortnight ago when I flew out to Maine in New England to visit the campus at the University of Maine Fort Kent.
Having worked closely with Athletic Director Bill Ashby and his admissions team for close to ten years and having successfully placed twelve student athletes with the university I was keen to finally see around the campus and the town which has looked after our students over the years.
My journey took me to Boston before boarding a much smaller plane to Presque Isle, Maine where Bill was kind enough to collect me and drive me north to the town of Fort Kent, which lies just across the St John River from the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
When I travel to visit American Universities I always think about the journey’s that our student athletes make, usually the first long haul journeys that they will make independently, and it does fill me with a sense of pride that these youngsters have what I like to call the ‘Oomph’ to get up and go for the challenge of living, studying and playing so far from home.
There’s no doubt about it. Fort Kent, Maine is a very long way from home for our students.
However, what the people in Fort Kent do fantastically well is provide a ‘Home’ for their international students.
The University has twenty seven different nationalities on campus and, walking around the place, there is certainly a very international feel to UMFK and it is clearly a positive for the American kids who have embraced them wholeheartedly.
I had the opportunity to meet with the staff and even the local police chief and what really came across was the complete buy in from the whole community towards the success of their university. Everyone seemed to know everyone on a personal level and I was regaled with stories about every single one of our Sporting Futures USA students, who have clearly made huge impacts on the people of Fort Kent.
In particular, one of our students is fondly remembered for running through the town in only a pair of bright speedos having raised money for a local charity. Funnily enough, it appeared to be fondly remembered by more than a few of the female staff.
For me, it was just fantastic to hear of the fondness the people have for our guys in Fort Kent.
They are all remembered fondly and have created, for themselves, a special place in the hearts of so many people.
Having helped the university win national championships, they are all assured of a lasting legacy of success both on and off the sports fields.
Leaving for home a few days later on my flight home from Boston, I had the opportunity to relax and contemplate the success Sporting Futures USA has been able to create with a wonderful university and it fills with me with great pride to continue the great relationship that we have built between our organisations over the years.
Many thanks to Athletic Director – Bill Ashby for making the trip happen and for all the support over the years.
Check out this fantastic interview that we held with Bill in his office at the University of Maine at Fort Kent: