Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
PORTSMOUTH — Giving back to an age group that you were once a part of is always a productive, and excellent, way to get involved within your community.
Throughout the early stages of her life, becoming involved with the community is exactly what Jensen Warnock has done as a three-sport athlete at Clay High School.
In December, Warnock, a senior at Clay and an Ambassador Girl Scout in Troop 1190, earned her Gold Scout Award for her work in promoting and developing the youth in the Clay Local School District through the creation of a volleyball summer camp and a fall instructional league.
The Gold Scout award is the highest achievement one can obtain within Girl Scouts.
“I thought that these leagues and camps would help out the girls and teach them more about the game so they will be interested to play as they get older,” Warnock said. “I know that I couldn’t wait to play in junior high because I had been close to the sport since fourth grade when Jill Tipton, our head coach at the time, asked me and many of my friends to become team managers. We were able to attend every practice and work on the techniques along with the varsity team. I know how much that inspired me, and I wanted the girls to take an interest and set goals for themselves. It also just gives the girls such a great opportunity to play a sport that most schools around here don’t play until at least junior high.”
In order to alleviate the transition period for girls who have an interest in volleyball but have to spend extended amounts of time working on the basics due to lack of experience in the sport when entering high school, Warnock created a camp during the summer that was available to any girl from grades 4-8.
A league was then formed as the girls got the chance to play every Sunday in September and develop the skills in a sport they desired to play at a high level.
“The girls made so much progress so fast,” Warnock said. “They loved the camp and were such hard workers. Their favorite part was getting to scrimmage each other. The girls were so disappointed when the league came to an end, but a few of the girls recently told me that they are going to attend a volleyball camp at Ohio State. They all seem very excited to play volleyball and to hopefully attend camp next year.”
Speaking of progress, it’s clear that Warnock has made plenty of her own.
Warnock’s already scored over 1,000 points on the basketball court and enjoyed a fantastic volleyball career, posting over 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs, and 1,000 service receptions in the sport she’s now passing down to youngsters. She also led Clay to the school and county’s first-ever OHSAA State Semifinal berth this past fall after posting 437 kills, 50 aces and 280 digs.
And in softball, Clay could be in a position to make it’s first state semifinal berth since 2007 with two straight regional trips already under its belt. Players like Warnock, Shaelyn Vassar, Lila Brown, Hannah Oliver, and others are all coming back into the fold.
The Gold Award — the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award — is just another accomplishment on the ever-growing mantle for Warnock, who has been a girl scout since kindergarten.
“It means so much to me that I got my Gold Award,” Warnock said. “That has been a goal of mine since I was little. I really enjoyed every second of playing volleyball with all of the young girls at my school who don’t have the opportunity to play before junior high.”
However, more than anything, Warnock wants to see the young ladies who participated in the camp grow to love and appreciate the sport in the same manner that she did.
“I just hope that they learn to love the sport as much as I did,” Warnock said. “I hope that they learn to set goals for themselves just like I did when I was their age.”