Youth Sports Need More Gyms, Fields Recreation Programs Stress Fun to Teach Good Values

Article excerpt

The youngsters playing youth sports in Jefferson County learn how to shoot a basketball, pass a soccer ball and defend a hockey goal. They also learn sportsmanship and team unity. Instead of being taught how to pound their opponent, they're learning how to have fun.

Parks and Recreation Director Michael Ginger wants to extend those three sports to more children and add football, but the department needs more gymnasiums, fields and roller hockey rinks.

At this point, youngsters play roller hockey at the High Ridge Civic Center, basketball at the Hillsboro Elementary School and Windsor High School and soccer at House Springs Middle School. Last year the department organized teams for more than 600 children ages 7-12 on a budget of about $20,000. Ginger said he calls on parents to volunteer time and pay fees to keep the sports programs afloat. "We have grown every year, but we need more doors opened to us so we can do more," Ginger said. "We want to add football, expand hockey and expand basketball." Ginger also wants to continue a 5-year-old program in the county of certifying coaches as members of the National Youth Sports Coaches Association. …