Sports and recreation programs are an important pillar of Boys & Girls Club programming. Not only do they develop physical fitness, but they also reduce stress, promote a positive use of leisure time and promote interpersonal skills, all of which help develop a healthier generation.
This summer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore (BGCMB) collaborated with USA Lacrosse to give Club kids a foundation in lacrosse through a four-week program. For many members, this marked their first introduction to the official State team sport.
Like BGCMB, USA Lacrosse is a nonprofit organization. Their mission is to fuel the sport’s growth and enrich the experience of participants. Outreach programs, like their collaboration with BGCMB, are important tools in their work to make lacrosse “a game for all” by fostering broad representation and participation as they grow and expand the sport and its community.
“For many kids in the inner city, all they know is basketball, football, and baseball: the core sports. Lacrosse is something different, and we try to widen everyone’s horizons,”
said Donovan Dennis, diversity equity and inclusion manager at USA Lacrosse.
USA Lacrosse delivered their four-week program at each of our four Baltimore City Club locations, with a certified coach leading a one hour and 45 minutes session each week. Week one focused on catching and throwing; Club kids used their hands to roll, throw, catch and shoot the ball before progressing to those same motions using the lacrosse stick. The second week focused on fielding ground balls and the third week saw Club kids get the opportunity to practice cradling and play an actual game. And the fourth and final week is when members got the chance to play a live, structured game that introduced kids to the rules governing play.
The learning process wasn’t always easy, but these sessions proved to be valuable life lessons about overcoming adversity for many of our youth members.
“The lacrosse program has been really interesting. I had to go through some challenges, but now I understand the game and can say that I know how to play lacrosse,”
said Club member Eian B.
“I think [the Boys & Girls Club] should continue the lacrosse program every summer. It was a great experience, and some of us might want to grow up and play lacrosse after being inspired by the people that taught us the game. It was something different for everyone. Here we always do football, basketball, and soccer, but we never do lacrosse. I didn’t know lacrosse was that fun until I played it.”