When Seth Leonard founded the York Mighty Ants back in 2013, the former York High standout had more in mind than just a basketball organization.
Sure, Leonard, now 29, wanted to find a way to keep feeding his passion for the sport.
Owning a basketball team fulfilled that need.
He also played for the Ants during the 2014 and 2015 seasons while helping them reach the Eastern Basketball Alliance (EBA) finals both seasons.
Basketball, however, was only part of what Leonard envisioned. A father and a mentor to many other children in York County, Leonard wanted the Ants to be a tool to help spur positive community involvement.
That has been a primary focus for Leonard since the EBA suspended operations shortly after the Ants fell to the Harrisburg Horizon in the 2015 title contest. As the University of South Carolina-Aiken graduate has worked to find a new league for his team, he has remained active in the community, helping out wherever he can.
“We’re all about helping out people in the area in trying to have the best life that they can,” he said. “We’re just the engine that feeds that. But we do love basketball.”
Possible return: Bringing the Ants back to the basketball scene might be in the cards, according to Leonard.
“We’re still working in it,” Leonard said. “We’re looking toward a league that’s called the Central Basketball Association. They have a later start date than the (EBA) did. But we still have some things to work out as an organization.”
There’s no doubt that Leonard still enjoys playing basketball. More importantly, however, he feels that helping others in need is his main calling as a person. Before the Ants came about in January 2014, Leonard was active in the community. He created Kingdom Abound, LLC, a community-service vehicle aimed at teaching and creating leaders in the York area.
“The Mighty Ants, as a business, is still attractive,” Leonard said. “And we used that brand to bring positive change to the community. Even though we haven’t been active as a basketball organization, we’re still doing all of the same hard work behind the scenes.”
Working with youth: A lot of the work that Leonard has been doing is with the youth in York City. Owning a basketball team has made it easier for Leonard to connect with many of the children and has helped him build relationships.
“We still mentor and are active in after-school programs,” he said. “And I’m still working with kids individually, whether it's training or teaching.”
Leonard is eager to get his team back on the court and playing competitive games for two reasons: One is the joy of being able to play the game; the other is an expanded opportunity for him and his players to give back to the community.
“If we can get into a league and get some help from that end, that would be great, because that’s just another demographic of people that we can serve,” Leonard said. “And having the basketball team ... makes it a lot easier for us to be able to fund the things that we do for the community.”
Those interested in contacting Leonard about assistance with their programs can contact him at email@example.com. The same address may be used to contact Leonard for ways to join the Ants in their community outreach.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.