Q1: What is your background in youth sports and how did you get involved in coordinating this program at BAC?
I started in youth sports three years ago coaching my older daughter’s Little League softball team. I figured since I would be at every practice and every game I would volunteer as an assistant coach helping with practices and on the field during games. I had such a great time teaching the fundamentals of the game that I became head coach for both my daughters’ Little League teams.
I went on to coach the 8U Beaverton All-Stars softball team, joined the Beaverton Little League board and was elected coaching coordinator and equipment manager.
Being involved in local youth sports brings me a lot of joy so I thought it would be great to extend those fundamental opportunities into football, and flag football was the perfect outlet.
Q2: What are the goals of the BAC Youth Flag Football program and what will kids learn from this sport?
Tackle football can seem dangerous to some parents and some kids may find the idea of being tackled to be scary.
The main difference of the flag football is players wear a belt with two flags hanging from it. A player is ruled down after one of their flags is removed, instead of being tackled to the ground. Because of the lower impact in the sport, there is no need for the heavy, expensive protective gear that is required in tackle football.
The goal of this program is to allow the youth in our community a chance to get out and try something new, or to refine the skills they have from previous years of playing.
Players will learn both social and physical skills. They will learn what it means to work together as a team, how to be a leader, and have patience. They will be encouraged to try hard, run fast, and build accuracy and coordination.
Q3: What expectations do you have for kids who play on your teams, and their parents and spectators?
Before every little league practice and game, I tell my teams two things: try your hardest and have fun! After every practice and game, I always ask what they learned or what skill they improved. This teaches them to constantly look at the positives and keep developing on their skills. Youth sports don’t just create leaders on the field or court, it sets the foundation for successful individuals in the classroom, and, later in life, in our society.
I’ve had the privilege of coaching some kids with amazing natural athletic abilities, and also some kids who need extra guidance to help them get comfortable with the sport. As coaches, we need to constantly encourage our players to try their hardest and have fun, because if they aren’t having a good time they are not likely to play again in the future.
As for parents and spectators, I expect positive cheering and encouragement from the sidelines, not only for their team but also for the other teams. I encourage parents to get involved. Ask how you can help! Non-profit organizations are fueled by volunteers, and we are always looking for more people to help turn kids sports dreams into realities.
Q4: As a “girl dad,” how will you approach teaching the basics of football with a mix of boys and girls on teams?
I will offer a chance for all players – boys and girls – to play every position at least once. After I identify each of their individual strengths, I will provide more opportunities for them to grow in those areas and to also keep trying new things. I’ve been amazed at times when I’ve encouraged a player to try a new position, that they turn out to be awesome at it. They might be great at one thing, but if you never give them a chance to show their strength in another area they will miss out on learning to try and developing new skills.
Q5: From your perspective as a BAC Board Member, how do youth sports programs fulfill the mission of BAC? What’s your vision of future programming at BAC?
At the BAC, our mission is to provide our residents and visitors with educational, recreational, social and physical activities that enhances the well-being of our community. The youth flag football fits perfectly into our mission. Other activities offered through the BAC, such as the youth co-ed basketball league, have been very successful, and talking with many of the players, families and friends, they want to see that success continue. Continuing to provide sports programs for youth and adults will keep our community engaged and committed to succeed together.
From a future programming perspective, I personally have so many hobbies that fit our BAC mission. For example, I love playing guitar, so maybe we can start a beginners guitar program. I also love hunting and fishing, so it would be great to get a few guest speakers in to share tips and tricks to make your outdoor experiences more successful; BAC could be a location that hosts safety courses for snowmobiling, boating, or hunting. For BAC no ideas are out of the realm of possibility! To anyone who would like to see new opportunities in our community, my advice is to get involved in Beaverton Activity Center and let’s make it happen!