Building youth basketball, one player at a time
When Dale Jandron moved to Wonder Lake from the Upper Peninsula 17 years ago, he saw a need in Woodstock School District 200.
“After watching a few basketball games around here, I saw we were way behind at the junior high level,” Jandron said. “We didn’t have the fundamentals other teams had.”
Ten years ago, Jandron decided to do something about it and started the Woodstock Youth Boys Basketball League. The program was originally for fifth- and sixth-graders and, in the first year, the league had approximately 40 players. The next year, third- and fourth-graders were added, and the number of players grew to 80. The following year, first- and second-graders were added, and the league would eventually grow to 250 to 300 players.
Jandron also was instrumental in the development of the Woodstock boys feeder program, a travel program for fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.
At the boys basketball game Jan. 21 at Woodstock North High School between WNHS and Woodstock High School, Jandron was recognized by the city for his contribution.
“Dale has been a long-time organizer and coach of our youth basketball program in Woodstock,” said Woodstock High School athletic director Glen Wilson. “His service and commitment to helping boys basketball is outstanding and we wanted to recognize him for it.”
“It was great and well deserved,” said Woodstock Recreation Department director Dave Zinnen.
“It was quite an honor,” Jandron said. “I was stunned by all the support we have had over the years. It was really nice to be at a game with all the Woodstock and Woodstock North kids who I have known since third- or fourth-grade. It was quite an honor to see all those kids standing up and clapping.”
Last year was Jandron’s last with the league. He has not lost his love for basketball and is in his first year as head coach of the Alden-Hebron Green Giants boys basketball team. He said he knows he has his work cut out for him and will use a similar approach to the one he used in Woodstock.
“What an honor to be coaching Alden-Hebron,” Jandron said. “We’ve got to get more kids out there. We’ll get better. I’ll start doing the same thing there I did in Woodstock — developing younger kids and building a foundation.”
A couple of years ago, the recreation department took over the WYBBL and is now know as the Woodstock Recreation Basketball League which is for third, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grades.
Jandron and his wife Becky have two sons, Drew who was part of the first senior class at WNHS and Josh who is a freshman. Jandron, who still referees on occasion, said the success of the program had a lot to with the support of the community.
“The support we have had from Woodstock has been awesome,” Jandron said. “I really want to thank all the kids who have played and all the parents who have helped.”