2011 JUST PLAY to be held October 10th!
Using Sports for Social Change is celebrating it’s 3rd year anniversary. Over the past three years, USFSC has sent over 900 basketballs, footballs and Soccer balls to St. John, helped local sports programs, took seven USVI youth and their chaperones to the Tortola Surf Classic as well as held two very successful “Just Play!” events. The 3rd annual “Just Play!” event is in the planning stages now! We are looking forward to another wonderful day of sports for the youth and community of the Virgin Islands.
USFSC has been working on two new programs: a surf camp and a swim camp for St. John youth.
St. John, the smallest of the US Virgin Islands, is one of the most beautiful vacation destinations within the USA. Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for more than 70% of GDP and 70% of employment. The islands normally host 2 million visitors a year. Non violent petty theft is on the rise, but violent crime is becoming more prevalent as well. Kids of the USVI need something to do in order to sway them from becoming a statistic. While there are a few sports programs in place on the island, not all youth enjoy the few sports that are available to them.
That’s why we believe that surfing can improve the lives of VI youth. As one youth surfer stated in a surf essay contest about surfing: “With too much time on their hands, people get bored and usually resort to making bad decisions in an attempt to stimulate their minds. Whether it’s joining gangs or doing drugs many people (especially kids) in the VI unfortunately go down these roads in a battle to be noticed by others. Surfing can benefit the community by creating a fun hobby for people to enjoy... focusing on progression in a sport, rather than drugs and alcohol.”
Using Sport For Social Change would like to hold a FREE weekend long surf session at one of the more surf friendly beaches on St. John. While the waves are very small, it would still provide the opportunity for VI youth and adults to learn how to surf in a safe, non threatening environment. By holding this weekend long surf clinic, it would bring families together and get kids off the streets and into a physically demanding sport.
As another surf essay contest winner wrote: “...surfing can help keep youth out of trouble and off the streets. By being an individualistic sport, surfing can teach youths to be self relying. It also builds inner strength, when you are out by yourself you don’t have anyone to rely on but yourself.”
It is said that over 30% of West Indian people living in the US Virgin Islands do not know how to swim. It is hard to believe since the Virgin Islands are surrounded by some of the most beautiful clear blue waters in the world. Generation after generation, Virgin Islanders have handed down many wonderful family traditions to their young. However, this same culture and traditions also plays a large part in children and adults not knowing how to swim.
Using Sport For Social Change would like to hold a FREE weekend long swim clinic on St. John, USVI. This yearly clinic would introduce children and adults to water safety, beginner swimming and water play. Dean Doeling, the founder of USFSC, is envisioning a FREE beach play day where the participants are introduced to the water gradually, while playing fun beach sports like football catch and Frisbee toss as well as playing with water toys such as swim noodles and inner tubes. The participants would learn about water safety in a “Hands on” and non threatening environment. All at no cost to the participant. "It is my hope that this will begin to break down the fear of water and bring families together in a way that they may not have been able to before." says Doeling, and the entire St. John community is behind those sentiments!
Thank you for your interest in the programs of this organization, and thank you for considering offerring your support!
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St. John, USVI,