Youth Sports Alliance expands to South Summit Middle School
The Youth Sports Alliance is expanding.
Though the Park City nonprofit has historically focused on providing after-school educational and athletic programming for Park City School District students, it is officially moving into the rest of the county and possibly beyond.
Over the last school year, the YSA provided a pilot program for students at South Summit Middle School on Fridays, when the school dismisses at 1:30 p.m. The program, called ACTiV8, focuses on developing eight lifestyle qualities: accountability, confidence, equality, inspiration, kindness, leadership, respect, and versatility through providing access to the variety of outdoor activities like mountain biking and skiing that it currently offers to Park City students. Emily Fisher, executive director of the YSA, says the program was a hit, garnering participation from 20 percent of the 500-person student body.
“They really have very limited after-school programs in South Summit, so our programs were very popular on their early release day,” Fisher said.
Cam Schiedel, a South Summit Middle School parent, said the program provided a constructive way for her daughter, Ellie, who is 13, to spend her Friday afternoons.
“If you get home at 5 or 6 p.m., the kids don’t really have anything going on for four or five hours, so it was really great to have activities the kids could choose from,” Schiedel said.
Ellie participated in drama, a boxing fitness class and an art program, which all lasted about a month.
Fisher says the programs are “bite sized” so students can experience the activity, and, if they like it, pursue it further. It also makes the cost more manageable for parents.
Enrollment in a program falls between $50-$235 dollars with most ranging between $50 and $125, depending on the sport, and includes transportation, coaching and some equipment. The YSA also aims to provide scholarships to 25 percent of its students. Families on the free and reduced lunch plan automatically qualify.
Fisher says the organization’s pilot programs almost always result in full-fledged adoption at the schools they visit. Since the 2013-2014 school year, the nonprofit has gone from a participation rate of 800 students from four schools to 1,608 students from 11 schools.
Now, Fisher says the YSA has reached a point where it needs to add staff before it can expand further.
South Summit will be added to the nonprofit’s purview regardless, but the YSA is also looking at expanding into the rest of Summit County and part of Wasatch County, which Fisher says the Park City Community is supportive of. Fisher said sign ups for South Summit parents will become available in August.
“They feel like people who are vital to park city and work in Park City now live in the surrounding county,” she said. “They want to make sure that they have the same support as people in the Park City community have.”
Vail Epic Promise, the philanthropic wing of Vail Resorts, which employs many members of Park City’s working class who struggle with the rising cost of living in the area, has been one of the main boosters, Fisher said.
The YSA is also a finalist for a $30,000 grant from the Women’s Giving Fund. If the Women’s Giving Fund awarded YSA the grant, Fisher says it would jump start further expansion by allowing the YSA to hire two part-time managers – one for the ACTiV8 program and one for a similar program called Get Out and Play, which is for elementary-aged students. Once the programs have expanded into new schools, Fisher said the sign-up fees will pay for the new positions on their own within 12 to 18 months.
In addition to the new programs at South Summit, the YSA is hoping to move into North Summit in the near future and establish a pilot program in Heber this year as well. The winner of the Women’s Giving Grant will be announced on July 8.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.