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Urban Youth Introduced To Non-Traditional Sports

Most children are familiar with traditional sports such as soccer, basketball, and baseball; however, urban youth sports are very limited and many kids do not have access to other sports like rowing and golf.

Fortunately, times have changed – two organizations in Wilmington, DE are striving to help introduce these sports to urban youth.

First Tee Wilmington participants“We are a positive youth development program that teaches life skills and healthy habits through the game,” said Charma Bell, who is program director for The First Tee of Delaware, a youth golf camp.

According to Delaware Public Media, Bell said that “playing golf requires persistence, confidence and courtesy, attributes which can benefit the kids their whole lives and more immediately.”

The First Tee’s biggest success story is that of Darius Smith, a PGA certified instructor in Florida. The Wilmington native “took advantage of the educational programs promoting character development” at The First Tee, which enabled him to get to where he is today.

Similarly, Faith Pizor, Executive Director of Wilmington Youth Rowing Association, also strives to provide urban youth with the opportunity to get involved in non-traditional athletics. To their surprise, WYRA discovered that the level of interest was not as high as they hoped it would be since so many of the children didn’t know how to swim.

Despite this minor setback, WYRA created a camp called ‘Row For It’ which was a success. WYRA and its camp have quite the impressive assortment of colleges recruiting their athletes; The University of Delaware, Harvard, Princeton, and Rutgers all make up the list of colleges that have provided the organization with scholarships.

City youth aren’t the only ones benefitting from these programs. Pizor pointed out that “kids from more privileged backgrounds also get a lot out of partnering with kids from different backgrounds.”

“They suddenly see that life is a lot different for a lot of kids and it’s a real eye opener,” she said. “We’ve had a number of parents say that they hope kids from minority groups learn something from the interaction but that their kids got a great deal out of this because they saw what America is really like in certain areas and how difficult it is for some of these kids.”

Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.