Guest editorial: An epic promise to youths

Guest editorial: An epic promise to youths

Emily S. Fisher
Executive Director, Youth Sports Alliance

As the snow melts and the pace slows in Park City, the staff at the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) can catch our breath, express gratitude to supporters and donors that help make our goals a reality and reflect on a record breaking year for many metrics. This year YSA saw the first three alumni of our afterschool program, Get Out & Play (GO&P), compete in Beijing. We cheered as Park City Nation’s homegrown and hometown athletes punched their tickets to the Olympics and Paralympics. We threw one heck of an Olympic and Paralympic Homecoming parade. But, most importantly we saw the greatest number of students participate in our afterschool programs.

This year, nearly 500 students, with nearly 1/3 receiving scholarships to participate, learned to ski or snowboard through our GO&P afterschool program thanks to a grant from Park City Mountain’s parent company, Vail Resorts and its EpicPromise. This year marks the 9th time that the YSA and Park City Mountain have collaborated to provide ski and snowboard lessons to students attending 12 elementary schools in Summit and Wasatch Counties. During this time, 3499 elementary school students have learned to ski or snowboard through our afterschool program with support from Vail Resorts EpicPromise.

Vail Resorts EpicPromise and Park City Mountain provide more to Park City youth than opportunities to ski or snowboard. In 2015, the organization provided a $15,000 grant to launch YSA’s afterschool program, ACTiV8, geared to middle schoolers and junior high school students. Program offerings include a diverse mix of sports, fitness and art all designed to keep kids engaged and off their screens. They’ve provided similar funding to launch YSA programs in the South Summit School District and Wasatch County School District.

Year over year, they have backed up their support to our afterschool programming with grants to help defray costs of transportation to get students to and from venues. Transportation is expensive and it isn’t glamorous, but it is necessary. We find that when we offer transportation for our afterschool programs, one in five participants receives financial assistance to participate. When we don’t offer transportation, participation by scholarship students drops to 1 in 19. Transportation costs us anywhere from $15 to $25 per student per week – costs that could make our programming prohibitively expensive to many students in our community. EpicPromise funding for transportation helps ensure that all kids in our community, regardless of family economics, can get out involved in sports and healthy lifestyle activities that can launch a lifelong journey of activity outdoors.

YSA was founded almost 20 years ago to encourage local youth to get outside to use the venues left as a legacy of the 2002 Winter Olympics. We realize this goal by running afterschool programs to introduce kids to sport and providing fundraising support to winter sports teams training at these venues. Most importantly, we provide need-based financial assistance to students wanting to participate in our afterschool programs or train with local teams. It is through our partnership with Park City Mountain and Vail Resorts EpicPromise that kids can reach for gold medals, but more importantly, learn life lessons that are unique to sport.


Important to pass recreation bond

My name is Jordan Williams. I am 14 years old, and I am an athlete. I love most sports, and I play many recreationally. Since I was 4, I have figure skated, ski raced, snowboarded, and now play hockey.

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