One of the biggest problems families now face as they try to get their children back into sports is that youth sports are expensive, there’s no way around that, especially when trying to join a traveling or club team. Add in the fact that over 36 million Americans filed for unemployment in the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the idea of children being able to play sports again begins to seem daunting.
At the same time though, youth sports offer a lot of benefits. They help teach kids how to be confident, boost their self-esteem, develop different skills such as teamwork and leadership, exercise is a natural stress reliever, they allow kids to develop healthy habits, and they’re fun.
It will be important to get kids back playing the games they love, which is why it’s lucky there are ways to get children back participating at a reduced rate.
In addition to club sports, there are a variety of other options to keep your kids involved. The YMCA is one place that offers a wide variety of leagues in a number of different sports, and with 2,700 of them in the United States, many families should be able to find one near them. The Y offers programs for kids from three years old through high school, and while prices vary depending on where you live, leagues are often available for under $150, and usually run for eight weeks.
Another organization that offers affordable programs is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The BGCA has 4,300 locations across the country where you can find leagues for a wide variety of sports, with ages groups going through high school. Again, prices vary depending on the league you are trying to enter, but there will almost always be an option for anyone looking to participate.
Local Rec Leagues
Local parks and recreation usually offer up youth leagues that run anywhere from six to 12 weeks. These leagues are also offered at a cheaper rate than a travel or club team would be, and are typically less of a commitment as they meet fewer times a week for games and practice.
Prices vary depending on the age of your kid and the city you live in, but the most important thing to remember is that these types of leagues can be very popular and fill up fast. You want to make sure to get your child registered early.
There are multiple programs set up to help out underprivileged children participate in the sports they love. Organizations such as the Road Runners Club of America, Tony Hawk Foundation, Walmart Foundation, Nike Foundation, Good Sports, and many others offer grants to different types of youth athletic programs each year. There are usually specific requirements that need to be met and a deadline one needs to file by, but a little bit of research should allow you to find the best type of grants for your organization.
Individuals usually are not able to receive grants, as they are typically designated for programs or organizations, but individuals are able to apply for different types of scholarships. Local governments will sometimes offer registration fee scholarships/equipment vouchers in order to help youths of low-income families participate in sports. There are also organizations such as the In Sports Foundation, or the Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) that help young athletes get scholarships to participate in their local leagues, or help them gain scholarships at the collegiate level.
Children, especially young ones, usually do not need to be part of an organized league to enjoy themselves. Playing a sport with their friends or family is often enough for them. Kids love to mimic their parents and showing your love for the game will only peak their interest even more, so bring out your old equipment and teach them everything you know.