Making memories

Making memories


For more than two decades the Start Smart Sports Development Program has been generating lifetime memories for families through the power of sports.

That’s certainly the case at MCCS in Cherry Point, N.C., where 33-year-old father Bryan Nobles – who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury sustained more than 15 years ago – has enjoyed spending quality time with his daughter in the program.

And inspiring others throughout the community through his love for his daughter that anything is possible.

“You never know what you’re capable of until you try,” says Nobles, who has limited movement in his hands and fingers. “Doing something out of the norm isn’t always easy but is necessary and healthy. It’s even more important that you’re there to make memories with your children and help them to learn new skills.”

“It is so inspiring to see him work with his daughter and have such a great attitude with her despite the issues he’s dealing with,” adds David Guthrie, Youth Sports Director at MCCS Cherry Point.

The popular Start Smart programs develop key motor skills that help make the transition into organized sports a smoother one for children.

Plus, one of the many attractive features of the program is that mom and dad get to participate alongside their child as they go through the fun-filled activities that ramp up in difficulty from week to week as skill development and confidence blossoms.

“It’s always been important to make memories and instill confidence in our children,” Nobles says. “Using programs such as Start Smart has allowed me a chance to spend time with my daughter in setting goals and having fun trying to meet them. At the same time, it causes me to slow down and be in the moment.”

Another terrific feature of the program that has made it so popular at recreation agencies nationwide is the impact it has on parents in myriad ways.

“Due to my disability, I am also still to this day finding out things that I can do, like teaching my daughter to swing a bat and catch a ball,” Nobles says. “Even though I have limited hand strength I could still throw the ball. I like trying to figure it out while my kid is playing sports.”

And in the true essence of teamwork, if there’s an activity that poses a challenge an MCCS Cherry Point staff member running the program delivers solutions.

“They’re always willing to help with figuring out a way to get through the exercises,” Nobles says.

The Start Smart programs have been a fixture at Cherry Point for nearly 20 years. Nobles and his daughter have participated in the Start Smart Baseball and Soccer programs, which target the basic motor skills needed to participate in those sports.  

Nobles has been thrilled to see the impact the programs have had on his daughter.

“What I like best is the format,” he says. “It’s broken out into easy goals for the parents and kids to try and meet and it gives young kids the opportunity to physically and mentally challenge themselves. She still likes to play the exercises at home as a game, too.”

As is the case with every Start Smart program, there are countless moments that will be cherished forever in the Nobles’ home.

“My favorite is when she would do something just right, like hit the ball or catch the ball, or just make it around all the bases,” Nobles says. “She would have a big smile on her face, and I just knew she was having fun.”

And that’s what it’s all about.

Start Smart MCCS Cherry Point Fun Family Bonding Exercise

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