The Season Builder Teams mentoring program helps teams define its core values. The program includes fun sessions like the one held for the Madison Academy volleyball team. Photo Contributed

Season Builder Makes A Difference In Students Setting Framework For Better Results

MADISON- Making a difference, define direction and ignite potential. These are the core values of the Season Building Foundation, a non-profit organization with a primary focus of one-on-one mentoring and character development for high school and college students.

Season Builder also provides programs for athletic teams, which can equip coaches, players and staff with core values and the type of culture they are trying to create for the program. Whether for teams or individuals, Season Builder helps realize and ignite the potential of those looking for an edge on the competition. The idea is to build character and purpose, a season at a time.

“I help define direction and purpose as some people sort of drift along and Season Builder combines friendship and mentorship and sets a framework to help those to follow,” said Taylor Edge, CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) for the Season Builder Foundation.

Edge has assisted players, coaches and teams all across North Alabama including those in the immediate Madison area. The former City Administrator for the City of Madison and 1995 graduate of Jacksonville State where he was Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Computer Information Systems along with two years on the Gamecocks’ baseball team is a fabulous public speaker and a great listener for those willing to open their minds to what the Foundation’s purpose of assisting young people find their purpose in life and strive to have high character.

One of his most recent stops was with the volleyball team at Madison Academy. The Lady Mustangs were gathered for a workshop where each student-athlete was allowed to voice their feelings of whatever they were wanting to discuss. Edge spent time trying to establish and point out to each attendee their purpose in life. He also stressed the need to define the core values of the team with head coach Nikki Knot.

“His meeting with us gave us things that we needed, defined of what our focus should be and narrowed down things which should be standard,” said Knott, in her fifth season as head coach. “I needed to define our culture and, now that is defined in words, as he laid the groundwork and put us on the path that is a daily focus. The nice thing about having in words is if any issue comes up with parents or players this gives me something to fall back on. All of these culture facts are something our players can control.”

Knott went on to explain the three facets of being a team and what those focus points are: ACE- Attitude, Commitment, Effort. “We also added a fourth fact of focus with another E, Energy. I met with Taylor several times about what our culture should be. Because of the groundwork we set this year already feels different than last year. These girls now know what is expected of them in our culture.”

The benefits of Season Builder Teams are multi-faceted, but the message is simple. Create a practical plan of values including character development and help players and coaches grow in and live out their culture and values each have set.

“The umbrella of our culture at Madison Academy is faith and family and that stands above ACE as we have our players understanding their off-court actions are just as important as their on-court actions,” added Knott.

One of the best benefits of the Season Builder Teams program is it allows coaches to shape their player’s habits and character not only on the playing surface, but at home, with their friends and in the classroom. The efforts create a simple, practical plan for character development that coaches can implement.

For Edge, his passion for helping young people began many years ago. He added, “For years I would meet with young people and what I was doing made them feel better in the moment, but not in life. I realized I needed to help build structure to change their life. The current program teaches respect, how to give yourself to the team effort, be responsible for your own efforts and focus 100-percent to mentally, physically and emotionally to the values.”

The 50-year old Edge is marred to his wife, Mindy, and through their 27 years of marriage have two boys, both of whom are in college. Stuart is 21 while Austin is 18. Edge began the unofficial process of helping student-athletes for the Bob Jones High football team a decade ago. His meeting with young people soon became more of a passion while he toiled at several jobs. He recently became connected to both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at UAH where he’s mentoring the young athletes. The players call him “Life Coach.” His help with schools across the Tennessee Valley ranges from Russellville to Section and others in between.

For Edge and his wife, believing came front and center on June 16, 2001. The two had tried to have children without success. “We did everything practical to have children and came to the point of almost desperation, but I left it up to God,” said Edge. “A month later we got pregnant. That June day I said to myself, there must be something to this Jesus thing.”

The Foundation’s work of defining direction for young people came full-circle when Spencer Palmer was involved in a horrific traffic accident in November of 2019. Edge had been building a friendship with Palmer who seemed to have his life together in a positive way, but the accident involved Palmer being charged with DWI. The young Palmer was living with a lot of hidden challenges. Several months passed and one day, “Just out of the blue, he called me,” said Edge of how Palmer reached out to him.

“He was desperate. He was tired of living his old life. I led him through Season Builder and the experience change his life. We reestablished our relationship with trust as I was his friend and Spencer saw that fact. His faith and our time walking through Season Builder radically transformed his life. The months we worked together changed both of us. The experience galvanized my calling. I’ve even helped some young people who have had thoughts of suicide. Spencer now works for me. It’s a moment I won’t forget.”

Edge was what he called a “Character Coach” for the UAH men’s basketball team 2018-2020 and feels having his own experiences with student-athletes has allowed him to perfect his teachings to where he has the confidence and based faith direction to change the lives and make a difference to young people everywhere.

To contact the Foundation, visit www.seasonbuilder.org.

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