Record editorial: Youth Sports Alliance expansion into East Side is a major step forward
Ever since it was formed in the afterglow of the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Youth Sports Alliance has been an important part of the Park City community.
The nonprofit, rightly, is quick to tout the number of youngsters it has shepherded to high-level athletic success — dozens have gone on to become Olympians — through its competitive winter sports teams. But its impact extends well beyond the slopes.
In addition to grooming young competitive athletes, the Youth Sports Alliance offers a pair of popular after-school programs that provide students opportunities to try their hand at winter sports and other recreational activities in a less formal setting. The programs, called Get Out & Play and ACTiV8, give the students something to do that doesn’t involve a screen and teach them valuable life skills.
Those programs have primarily been available for students within the boundaries of the Park City School District — until now. After a successful test run last school year, the Youth Sports Alliance is officially expanding ACTiV8 to South Summit Middle School, allowing students there to take part in athletic pursuits such as mountain biking and disc golf, as well as other extracurricular activities like photography.
The Youth Sports Alliance taking its mission to the East Side is a welcome development and a major step forward for the organization. A stark opportunity divide between students from the eastern and western ends of the county has long been apparent, and the Youth Sports Alliance deserves kudos for stepping up to address it, even if the nonprofit’s leadership would be among the first to admit more needs to be done.
It would be wonderful to see an expansion into North Summit schools in the future, too, because the after-school programming the nonprofit provides is something all students can benefit from. ACTiV8, for instance, is aimed at fostering eight lifestyle qualities: accountability, confidence, equality, inspiration, kindness, leadership, respect, and versatility.
Most youngsters the Youth Sports Alliance works with won’t ever become elite athletes. Even fewer will reach an Olympic podium. But lessons like that will prove essential no matter where a student’s future leads. It’s exciting that more Summit County students than ever have the opportunity to learn them.
That’s a credit to the Youth Sports Alliance and its many supporters. And, hopefully, the expansion efforts mark the beginning of a community-wide effort to ensure students in North Summit and South Summit have the same opportunities as their Park City peers.
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