A Trip to Upward Headquarters

Sarah, Kezzie, and I just got back from a camp in Mississippi (Lake Forest Ranch).  On our way back, I performed at Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany, MS.  It was at these recent shows that I first tried out the new light-up stickman costume with LED juggling props – definitely a hit with the crowd!

On our way back to Virginia, we stayed the night in Greenville, SC.  We saw some old friends who live in the area (Chris and Rebecca), and then made a stop at the Upward Sports Headquarters in Spartanburg, SC.

Though I don’t work for Upward, I feel very close to the organization, having been on their list of suggested speakers for their awards celebrations for the past 5 years.  Upward is a global youth sports organization that has leagues serving over 500,000 kids per year.  Their goal is to break a million by 2016.  Their ultimate goal is to introduce kids to Jesus Christ through sports and recreation.

We were impressed with their facilities and the warm hospitality we received at their headquarters.  We were unannounced walk-ins, and they immediately found someone on staff (Jennifer) to give us a personal tour.  It has the look of a modern office building complete with cubicles and offices, but decorated with inspiring photos, posters, wall art, shadow boxes of memorabilia, and printed values, mission, and vision for the organization.  What stands out is the “knights-of-the-round-table” style board room in the center of the second story, a glass enclosed meeting area where everyone at the meeting has equal value and input.

The statue out in the front of the property depicts the servanthood of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  If you are ever passing through Spartanburg, SC, don’t miss this special place that is the hub of a lot of God-glorifying activity.


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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.