Just as fast as youth ran out of school to start their spring break, they ran right back inside of Crane High School to participate in Spring Into Sports 2010! The second annual ‘Spring Into Sports’ provided fun competitive play in archery, baseball, boxing, swimming, track & field and basketball.
Youth competed in both tournament play and clinics where they were introduced and trained in selected sports. Participants also participated in Jeopardy, Wii tournaments, double dutch, modern dance clinics and mentoring sessions. Youth also registered for Youth Ready Chicago summer employment positions.
The event ran for three days during spring break.
Over 220 youth from 8 Chicago Housing Authority sites were able to participate daily. Youth competed against one another for gold, silver and bronze medals. Youth also completed a ‘Play Passport’ (a post card with four squares that youth were able to get stamped to receive an additional medal) designed to ensure that everyone in attendance tried at least four activities. It was very exciting to watch youth looking at each other’s Passport to see who will win their medal first; and also the smile and since of accomplishment on kids faces when their medal was placed around their necks!Just to give you a sense of the level of participation see below:
·150 youth attended the boxing clinics
·220 youth tried archery (crowd favorite!); 22 youth hit ‘BULLSEYES’
·212 youth participated in the basketball tournament and clinics
·100 youth played Jeopardy
·60 youth played in the Wii tournament or individual games
·22 youth exercised with Robert Morris University fitness interns
·Over 100 youth swam daily
·256 medals were issued
Participants were re-energized after their hard work with fresh healthy lunch and fruit.
Near West was also able to hire student interns to help with a variety of assignments. But, the unspoken success of Spring Into Sports was the fact that for three days 220 youth from eight different communities came together, interacted and competed against one another without ONE INCIDENT. To add, youth established new friendships despite invisible, yet real, neighborhood borders making the city potentially smaller and thus safer. This proves that when exposed to new activities and set in a positive environment, youth can respond appropriately. To sum everything up, one young lady can be quoted as asking the following question while leaving on the final day, ‘why did you only do three days?...Next year you all should do seven!...See you next year!’