Opening in 1993, Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area has been a leading provider of quality programs for children and youth. We are proud of our history of leveling the playing field and providing opportunities for young people to discover, develop, and achieve their full potential. Our services are located in neighborhoods where they are most needed by young people and their families and emphasize flexible programs based on local needs, the interests of children and youth, and the diversity, character, and identity of their communities.
The importance of sports in the life of a young person is invaluable and goes much further than the basic answer that "it keeps kids off the streets." It does in fact keep kids off the streets, but it also instills lessons that are essential in the life of a child. Where else can a impressionable young person learn values like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice, and accountability? Television, which may be the most influential tool in the lives of young adults, does not show enough of these qualities, nor is it on the Internet, or radio. Rather it is up to the parents, teachers, sports teams, clubs, and after school programs to help mold, develop, and instill these qualities into the lives of children.
Unfortunately organized sport is not a luxury every child gets to enjoy while growing up. This can be attributed to lack of funds for registration costs and equipment, limited knowledge of the sport and lack of transportation to and from practice and games.
Physical activity and sport have always been an important part of the Boys and Girls Club after school programs. The Sports Leagues run by the local club and supported by the Kids for Kids Hockey Tournament aims at minimizing and removing barriers and turning organized sport into something all of the members can enjoy on a weekly basis.
The goal of these leagues is not to win or lose; it is simply to expose the members to a sport they may not be familiar with. In doing this, staff saw that not only skills of the sports were learned throughout the program but children were also learning many social and life skills that come along with playing sports. Staff and volunteers witnessed leadership skills exhibited by members in ways they had not seen in regular programming. Older members were teaching younger members how to perform certain skills and be great role models. Staff saw sportsmanship exhibited when certain teams may have been more talented or highly skilled then others and saw members learn the importance of participation, and not just winning. A great deal of team work was exhibited amongst groups that may not normally interact outside of program time. All of these skills were beginning to appear more and more frequently not just during Sports Leagues, but also during all of our after school programs. Unwanted behaviors subsided and members were not just a team once a week they were a community whenever together. Because of these sports leagues being in place, young athletes will benefit and the results will be evident not only on the field, but long after they step off of it.
THANK YOU TO ALL PARTICIPANTS AND THE KIDS FOR KIDS COMMITTEE!
Peter Kingston, President of the Boys and Girls Club (centre) receives the Kids for Kids check form Kids for Kids Volunteer Chair Bill Hackett (left) and City of Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson (right).