By Kimberly GearhartOctober 1, 2007
SCHWEINFURT, Germany - Sometimes, getting the word out about sports clinics - and then getting the people in to participate - can be a challenge.
Daniel Jones, from U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt Youth Sports, has a solution.
"If you can't bring the kids into the camp, you take the camp out to the kids."
In an effort to reach more of the youth community here, Jones and other Youth Sports employees have implemented a Fun on the Run program. Vans loaded with sports gear and games will drive through the housing areas, in search of groups of kids.
"Then we'll break out the toys, and play," Jones said.
The program, long considered, is being implemented here in Schweinfurt because, as Jones points out, "it's a necessity."
Youth sports programs can suffer from lack of participation, sometimes simply because parents do not know about the opportunities, and sometimes because there just isn't enough time in the day to get to summer camp and soccer camp, the grocery store and doctor's appointments.
"But this only takes an hour a day," Jones said.
Youth Sports employees will be in the housing areas during afternoons or evenings when the weather is nice, searching for groups of kids to entertain. Participating adults will be Youth Sports employees, who will have passed background checks and have identification cards as well.
"You don't want kids playing with anyone that pulls up in a van, so we want everyone to know who we are, what we're doing, and that we're offering a safe alternative for the kids," Jones said.
This fall, Youth Sports enrollment is up near 400, which Jones says is about 150 more than ever before. Fun on the Run will continue to serve the community on slow days for the Youth Sports program activities.
"We're going to continue to support [Fun on the Run] and the community whenever we can," Jones said.