Part of my interest in helping the community has to do with the area youth. There are widespread programs sponsored by various local organizations, but they need boosters to spread the word. I have become enamored with sports for kids activities them foster socialization and create leadership and teambuilding skills. There is true salvation in sports for those children who do not get sufficient guidance at home and need extracurricular activities for proper mental and physical development. One particular program is all about making soccer the new game in town. It is already growing in popularity around the country for boys and girls and has sparked publications like Top Corner Mag, but it is gaining more adherence in Salem, where I live, given the attention on it as a vehicle for growth.
I never played but I understand that it is challenging game that takes a lot of practice. To be good at it, a player has to put in the time after school and on weekends. But the whole team is there, sharing strategies and tips. It can be all absorbing, like most pastimes, and the kids love the camaraderie and team spirit. Kudos go to the parents and coaches who promote soccer and make it a source of learning and personal excellence. The problems that commonly plague youth soccer aren’t part of our program– the yelling coach, the complaining parent, the dreaded car ride home after a loss, the underperforming athlete, the player who doesn’t know where to go on the field, and the game instructions that seem to contradict themselves (“Don’t pass that, dribble in!”, “Don’t dribble, pass the ball!”).
Kids respond well to consistency during training and encouragement during play. The program director of our program has hired the best people to teach and train so the players become skilled and adept, so they can continue on as they get older. I support the effort wholeheartedly and offer my time upon occasion when I am not volunteering. My interests are varied and my exposure to new situations and ideas has grown. There is great reward in working for the community in so many ways. I never expected to be so absorbed by youth sports. I have taken to watching soccer playoff games and rooting for my favorite team.