Importance of Athletics in Youth and Adolescents
By T.J. Cox
Athletics are an important aspect in people’s everyday lives, and with children and adolescents, it’s no different. Physical activity not only has an immense impact on a child’s physical health and development, but also on their psychological health and well-being.
According to research from the University of Missouri, athletics have a wide range of benefits—five exactly.
- Athletes do better academically. Sports require memorization, repetition and learning, which are the skillsets directly related to class work.
- Sports teach teamwork and problem solving skills. Athletes are all fighting for a common goal, to win. By doing this, players and coaches teach them how to build teamwork and effectively communicate to solve problems.
- Sports boost self-esteem. Watching your hard work pay off by achieving goals you’ve set for yourself can help with developing self-confidence.
- Sports can produce physical health benefits. Sports can help you reach your fitness goals and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
- Sports may reduce pressure and stress. Exercising is a natural way to loosen up and let go of built up stress. You can also make lifelong friends with your teammates who can be there for you as part of your support system.
Central Valley NMTC understands how important athletics are to youth and adolescents, which is why they stepped in to help give back. They didn’t help with just one project related to athletics; they helped with three.
One of those projects was the revitalization of an abandoned 18-acre community sports complex—Granite Park.
Granite Park was originally created in the mold of a “Big League Dreams” concept that was supposed to provide first-class baseball, softball and soccer fields to the community, and to attract state and regional wide sporting tournaments. Granite Park was constructed in 2006, but only operated for 18 months due to a debt of $5 million. The city was unable to help due to their financial position, and those children’s dreams of playing were left shattered.
That is until Central Valley NMTC stepped in.
Central Valley Community Sports Foundation proposed to rehabilitate and re-open this project, and Central Valley NMTC provided pre-development funding, secured construction and permanent financing.
“A lot of people essentially gave up and lost hope that Granite Park would be completed,” said T.J. Cox, Central Valley NMTC founder. “Now people have a place to come and just play, and it’s really special that we were able to assist with that. ”
Central Valley NMTC directly financed $1.6 million, which created 12 construction jobs, and 18 full-time equivalent jobs. The revitalization of Granite Park not only created jobs, but it also brought a community of athletes together. Granite Park sees roughly 90,000 visitors annually, and provides free recreational programming for non-profit partners.
Granite Park wasn’t the only baseball facility they invested in. Central Cal Baseball Academy entered into a partnership with the City of Fresno to adopt Al Radka Park. This agreement stipulated that Central Cal Baseball Academy would put forth a minimum of $80,000 of improvements into the park. Central Cal Baseball Academy was able to provide a better environment for baseball, secure the club a permanent home, and provide extra days for the local little league to hold games, which expanded that league’s enrollment by roughly 100 kids.
Central Valley NMTC provided $40,000 of grant funds, which was matched by Central Cal Baseball Academy and City sources. This allowed a non-profit to adopt and rehabilitate a city-owned park, and allowed non-profit to expand programming for local youths.
Central Valley NMTC shifted gears away from baseball, and turned their attention to the rink for Gateway Ice Center & Fresno Monsters.
Gateway Ice Center and the Fresno Monsters were acquired by Central Valley Community Sports Foundation (CVCSF) after years on thin-ice. Gateway Ice Center has over 70,000 annual visitors, and is the only rink open to the public within a 100-mile radius of Fresno. Gateway Ice Center regularly hosts community groups such as Big Brothers and big Sisters, Children’s Hospital Adaptive Sports, and the Boys & Girls Club for individual and group events.
Central Valley NMTC provided critical working capital and acquisition financing, which allowed CVCSF to secure a $2.5 million donation of equipment, fixtures and supplies necessary to maintain operations at the facility.
The impact this had went beyond just the Fresno Monsters.
Central Valley NMTC helped keep open the only ice rink within a 100-mile radius, saved 12 FTE jobs, and established a site for summer lunch programs for under-privileged children.
This combined with the previous projects gave youth and adolescents a place to come and play, and do something they love. Without Central Valley NMTC’s help, none of this would be possible.