Friday, February 13, 2009

Big Year for Youth Sports in Chicago

Hold onto your hat if you're a believer in engaging youth in sports as a community-building activity. This spring and summer we'll see the biggest, most organized youth sports effort in recent years, or maybe ever.

LISC/Chicago's multi-year commitment to building up youth sports has gotten a big boost via a new grant from the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods. Details of the programming are still being worked out, but watch for:
  • A week-long Spring into Sports event at four neighborhood locations from April 4 to 11, to coincide with Chicago Public Schools' spring break and the site visit from the International Olympic Committee. (See Chicago bid book.)
  • A summer-long calendar of tournaments, track events, sports demos, skill-building activities and, of course, the Hoops in the Hood championships (2008 photo above by Eric Young Smith).
LISC's Keri Blackwell says all New Communities Program neighborhoods will be involved in Spring into Sports at locations in Little Village, Englewood, Humboldt Park and the Near West Side. There will be competitions in six sports (archery, badminton, basketball, table tennis, track and field, and volleyball); skills challenges in multiple sports; and demonstrations by professionals and amateurs in sports such as boxing, gymnastics, fencing and martial arts.

World Sport Chicago will be bringing volunteer coaches and pro athletes into the mix and connecting them up with youth organizations, schools or leagues. The Chicago Park District will be another big partner.

Stay tuned for more details here and on the New Communities Program web site.

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