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Seneca Falls Development Corp awarded Youth Sports Grant

A new program designed to inspire and foster a more active lifestyle in local youth is coming to Seneca Falls.

The Seneca Falls Development Corp (SFDC) was awarded a grant of $5,840 to fund their proposed Team Active8 program. Administered by the Rochester Area Community Foundation via the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports, 20 projects were funded throughout the Finger Lakes region to help support and strengthen the quality, quantity and accessibility of regional youth sports and recreation programs.

Team Active8 is a free 8-week program for children in grades 3-5 created by SFDC Director, Greg Zellers, to teach children how to stay active even in the absence of organized sports; to demonstrate the power of imagination; and to encourage the inclusion of non-traditional sports and activities in school and community center programming.

Beginning in the Fall of 2018 and repeating in the Spring of 2019, Team Active8 will introduce traditional sport concepts through a series of non-traditional games and fun activities so area youth can sample a diverse range of sports and explore his or her skills without the pressure of athleticism, competition, or peak performance.

Games and activities such as Billiard Soccer Golf, Ice Skating, Scoop Ball, Blind Volleyball, Kids Rule, Noodle Hockey, and Balloonapalooza will be used to encourage active play, increase confidence and motor skills, and foster an interest in ongoing physical activity or even future traditional sports participation.

“Our goal through the program is not to cultivate the next great athlete,” said Zellers, “but rather to boost confidence and inspire activity in kids who may otherwise opt to stay indoors. By offering kid-centric and kid-driven games to Seneca Falls youth, we have a greater chance of securing and maintaining their interest in staying active long term.”

With the number of large playing fields and indoor facilities at a minimum, the Team Active8 program will provide game and activity ideas that can be played without the need for considerable space or a large number of players. Throughout the program, youth will discover that imagination is their most powerful play asset and that they don’t need a formal playing field to stay active.

The five primary goals behind the Team Active8 program include:

  • Helping participants develop a better understanding of traditional sport concepts through the introduction and play of non-traditional games and activities;
  • Inspiring a marked increase in self-confidence, positive identity, and good behavior;
  • Helping the Seneca Falls Community Center determine which non-traditional sports and activities to add to its list of available programs based on the input of participants and parents;
    – Fostering the involvement of disadvantaged youth and those not already engaged in traditional sports, leagues, and travel teams so more Seneca Falls kids become active;
  • Develop a pilot program based on parent, participant, staff, and teacher feedback that can be implemented by school organizations, community centers, and youth clubs across the country while including additional age groups.

“49% of the students where Team Active8 will be offered qualify for free or reduced lunch,” remarked Joell Murney-Karsten, SFDC Board Chair, “and due to financial limitations, a vast majority of these youth aren’t engaged in organized sports, making them less likely to participate in daily physical exercise and activities. Through Team Active8, we hope to change that.”

Team Active8 will be a coordinated effort among the SFDC, the Seneca Falls Central School District, and the Seneca Falls Community Center. Program, activity, and registration details will be available at http://teamactive8.com once the program’s event calendar is completed in August.

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