Based on the belief that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy the numerous benefits of youth sports, Olympic City USA is leveraging a grant from Comcast NBCUniversal and supporting funds from Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) to cover registration fees for kindergarten-second grade soccer players registered through the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department this spring. Up to 500 local children are expected to enjoy free soccer this season.
“The benefits of youth sports are incredibly well documented, and we thought that if there’s any city that should focus on making sure those benefits are available to all, it’s Olympic City USA,” said Jamie Fabos, Chief Communications Officer for the City of Colorado Springs. “While programs have been available in the past to help with financial obstacles, the Gamechanger promotion removes any shame or stigma associated with requesting such help, and just makes it incredibly easy to come out and be a kid. We very much hope that this program will grow to cover more sports and more age groups in the future.”
The program is made possible through two grants given to Olympic City USA from Comcast NBCUniversal and Children’s Colorado. Comcast NBCUniversal’s investment was the catalyst for the idea. Fabos says the promotion, “truly brings the spirit of Olympic City USA to the grassroots level.”
In addition to the funding, both organizations have pledged to help recruit youth sport coaches from their internal ranks to meet the need.
“Comcast NBCUniversal is a proud partner of Team USA and a proud supporter of Olympic City USA,” said Amy Lynch, senior vice president of the Comcast Mountain West Region. “We hope through our support of Olympic City USA’s community programs designed to bring youth together with athletes and members of the Olympic and Paralympic community, more kids will share in the Olympic City USA experience and grow and learn more about leadership through this unique opportunity.”
Through additional supporting funds, the contribution from Children’s Colorado ensures that the program can sustain growth through the Spring season.
“At Children’s Colorado, one of our primary goals is to keep kids healthy and out of the hospital,” said Margaret Sabin, president of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Southern Region. “Doing so, requires the efforts of partnerships and programs in the community that help kids create healthy, life-long habits, which is why we are proud to support Gamechangers. This opportunity will help more kids stay active and outside and teach them how to build comradery and teamwork – all essential building blocks every child should have.”
The promotion was launched today with a celebration and youth soccer demonstration at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center Velodrome. The event featured special guest, Hailey Danz, a local Paralympic silver medalist who extolled the value of her own participation in youth sport.
“Soccer was one of the very first sports that I played growing up, and I have many fond memories from my years in soccer leagues. Youth sports is where I developed my love of athletics and a healthy lifestyle. After I had my leg amputated, my love of sport endured, and I got involved in skiing and triathlon. The vital lessons and the passion I developed during my youth sports experience have contributed not only to my athletic success, but to my personal character. I am proud to be here today celebrating this groundbreaking program so that all kids in Olympic City USA have the opportunity to learn to love sports.” said Danz.
Registration for K-2 soccer open through Feb. 14, and can be completed via mail, walk in or online. While registration fees are waived for every method, online transactions carry a $3 processing fee.
Through a partnership with the National Inclusion Project, Youth Sports strives to offer opportunities for children of all abilities. Call (719) 385-6964 for details.