Youth Football Brings Rural Communities Together

By Massey, John | Parks & Recreation, July 2003 | Go to article overview

Youth Football Brings Rural Communities Together


Massey, John, Parks & Recreation


Sport and leisure are important for our well-being, social interaction and enjoyment. These are benefits that can be realized by all in our communities, both rural and urban. But when small county communities don't have a local recreation department, how do their young people get involved in traditional youth sports?

Charleston County (S.C.) Community Education is a program that's the result of a partnership between the Charleston County School District and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. Community school staff in McClellanville, Johns Island and Baptist Hill are charged with providing athletics for young people in these areas. In rural Charleston County, it's no surprise that a favorite seasonal sport is football. The NFL Youth Football Fund helps make this possible.

For Charleston County Community Education, the NFL Youth Football Fund makes funding for local football programs available through NRPA, one of several NFL National Youth Football partners. These funds provide the most basic of football needs--helmets, pads, jerseys and even the footballs are funded through this initiative.

"Our rural areas have many residents who love football," says John Massey, the commission's assistant director for community education, "yet they are frequently too poor to afford basic equipment costs. Young people are given an opportunity to participate in a sport that was not available to them in previous years. …

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