Posted on September 09, 2022
The Fort Worth Parks and Recreation Department and its partners will launch a collaborative elementary afterschool sports program this fall.
The main goal of the program is to break down the barriers that exist in the current youth sports ecosystem – cost, time, transportation and proximity – by bringing affordable sports programs to students where they are: in schools. neighborhood.
Fort Worth is partnering with FWISD, the Fort Worth Athletic Commission, Fort Worth After School Program and other youth sports providers to launch the program this fall. Participating schools and community centers are still being determined for the fall football season, but the end goal is to have a program in all Fort Worth ISD elementary schools.
“In addition to providing equitable services to all parts of the city, our mission is to ensure that all children have access to the positive benefits that come with participation in youth sports,” said Dave Lewis, Acting Director from Park & Recreation.
The City’s first year funding for the expanded program is set at $387,058.
The benefits of sport for young people
Aspen Institute study shows kids who are active and play sports are 10% less likely to be obese, have 40% higher test scores, are 15% more likely to go to college and have lower levels of depression and better autonomy. valued. Additionally, sports provide opportunities for children to learn life lessons such as teamwork, perseverance and discipline.
“In addition to being a lot of fun, youth sports programs teach kids valuable lessons in leadership, teamwork and challenging themselves. Fort Worth is committed to expanding youth athletic opportunities to more children by investing in infrastructure and expanding programs, and I’m thrilled to see the city join with these partners to do just that, fueling happier and healthier childhoods in our city,” said Mayor Mattie Parker.
The program will include three sports – soccer, basketball and flag football – and will be offered in six-week increments. Students will have after-school practices with a volunteer coach and compete on weekends at local park facilities against other teams from ISD or the Fort Worth Community Center.
If approved by the Fort Worth City Council this month, additional funds would be used to improve the program by adding staff, equipment, game officials and jerseys to accommodate more children.
“Fort Worth After School, which is a collaborative effort of FWISD and the City of Fort Worth, is proud to partner with Park & Recreation and the Athletics Commission to provide affordable, high league options quality to all young people in Fort Worth. This is a phenomenal opportunity to grow and develop athletic and life skills for our young people,” said Miguel Garcia, FWISD After-School Program Director.
Youth participation in sports has been on the decline since 2014, when more than 4,000 children played sports through Department of Parks and Recreation programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the programs to a complete halt. This new program aims to return to the participation figures of 2014 and beyond.
Youth sports complex under construction
In addition to the new youth sports program, the City is working on plans for a youth sports complex that would meet the need for a sports facility to host major regional and national tournaments as well as being a place where local children could play and be proud. of.
“Fort Worth has an incredible opportunity to redefine sports programs and facilities across the city,” said Jason Sands, executive director of the Fort Worth Athletic Commission. “It starts with more involvement and equity in recreation, but also includes investing in facilities so that our children have a place to play. With the World Cup coming to DFW in 2026, it’s time to act. »
As the city plans to improve sports and facilities at all levels, the launch of this new youth sports model will ultimately contribute to healthier, happier children throughout Fort Worth.
Photo: Flag football is one of three activities that will be part of an expanded youth sports program in Fort Worth.
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