Help local youth learn the right lessons of sport
To the editor:
There has been a significant amount of conversation around making a difference with the youth of our city, and it is fantastic. People have been discussing the creation of new programs to direct youth away from violence and crime.
These are all great things, but we have to stop letting the politics of the adults get in the way of our kids. We need to create a program that can provide effective character education. For it to be successful, we need activities that kids enjoy doing, a place for these activities to occur, adults to guide the process, and parental support. In addition to these things the activity would need to incorporate teachable moments.
The wonderful thing is that we have the infrastructure already built. Youth sports are a great medium to provide character education. It is estimated that close to 40 million kids across the country participate in youth and high school sports. This means there are thousands in Pittsfield alone, not to mention the rest of the county.
We need to provide an atmosphere that allows youth to get beyond a winning-at-all-costs attitude, and learn the lessons on the field that will make them successful adults. We can teach you the game, and give you training to capitalize on those teachable moments. The best way to get people to give back to their communities is to start giving back yourself. Model the behaviors you are looking to instill in the youth.
City agencies are always looking for volunteer coaches. I can speak for the Pittsfield Catholic Youth Center, and I know we are always looking for people to help out. We currently offer volleyball, basketball and flag football. Reach out to us (CYC), the YMCA, Girls Inc, or The Boys and Girls Club. I know we can find a place for you. There is far more to youth sports than championship trophies.
Jeff Quinto, Pittsfield The writer is chairman, CYC board of directors.