The Jake Snyder Middle School Regatta was the inspiration of Daniel Vanegas, who started the regatta in Jake’s memory in 2012. Among middle school programs, whose racing opportunities were typically limited to occasional exhibition events at high school regattas, the idea was welcomed with enthusiasm. Middle school rowing programs from north, central, and south Florida came to the inaugural regatta.
Born in 1989, Jake Snyder grew up in Winter Park, Florida, where he attended Winter Park High School and rowed four years for the school’s rowing team, Winter Park Crew. During his high school years, Jake attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. He was also awarded Disney World’s Dreamer and Doer Award, granted to students who set examples to others through their volunteer service. He earned a Bright Futures Scholar Award to the University of Florida, where he joined Gator Christian Life. At the University of Florida, he majored in Political Science with a minor in Classical Studies and a certificate in Weather. He received the Anderson Scholar Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the University on students for their first two years of course work. Jake died at the age of 21 in 2010, peacefully surrounded at home by his family and friends. After his death, Congressman John L. Mica, with whom Jake had served a congressional internship, brought to Jake's family a United States flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Jake once said of rowing: “Remember that this sport is not about personal glorification; instead, it is about making the team faster. Your goal should be to make your boat go as fast as possible, and if you’re ever moved out of the boat, don’t think “Why?” Instead, think about what you can do to make your new boat faster.” In other words, Jake felt that a person should always do what he or she can for the greater good. Jake lived that ethic, in all things at all times and with much joy. His smile was renowned both for its brilliance and its sincerity.
The regattas logo, the fleur-de-lis, is the insignia of the Boy Scouts of America, whose law epitomizes the way in which Jake, as an Eagle Scout, lived his life and shared himself with the rowing community. The Scout Law states that, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” We honor those attributes at the Jake Snyder Middle School Regatta.