Start Smart exceeds expectations at Centre Region Parks & Recreation (Pa.)


When Centre Region Parks & Recreation (Pa.) starting using Start Smart Sports Development programs in 2005 they knew that they were addressing a need in their community. Although they were quite certain the program would be successful, they had no idea it would take off like it did.
“It has gone beyond what we anticipated. We have a waiting list for soccer every time it is offered,” said Jeff Hall, recreation supervisor for Centre Region Parks & Recreation. “We have more than 2,000 kids that play in our local youth leagues each year. Every time we offer soccer, which is about 10 classes per year, we have waiting lists.”
Hall looked to Start Smart after receiving multiple parent requests for an organized sports program for younger kids. Designed by top motor skill development specialists in the field of youth sports, Start Smart targets children ages 3-5 and the program provides them the chance to perform motor skill tasks that gradually build confidence, while having fun at the same time. So far, Centre Region has run Start Smart Golf, Football, Basketball and Soccer.
“We got involved to fill a need for kids entering local youth leagues,” Hall said. “We had parents asking about programs for younger children.”
Since introducing the program in his community, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
So far Hall is impressed with the progress his Start Smart participants are making.
“The knowledge the kids gain, as well as the parents, is invaluable when they move on to the youth leagues,” he said. “Most have more skills than the other kids in the leagues who didn’t participate in the Start Smart programs.”
Although soccer has been the most popular program, Hall has noticed the largest improvements in golf. Some children begin Start Smart Golf without having ever even touched a golf club before. By the time they’re done with the program they’ve learned how to swing properly and are versed on all golf history, rules and etiquette.
Although Hall is pleased that his community is helping to raise better athletes, he’s still all about the fun and participation.

"The best part is when a parent comes up to me and says, 'Thanks, my son/daughter really enjoyed this program,'" he said.


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