Keeping Youth Active with Sports Leagues

Keeping our youth motivated to exercise and be active can be a challenge, but the Boys & Girls Club of Tahlequah has been doing so for 12 years. Through various community partnerships, this Club is able to keep many community youth active with their fun and engaging athletic programs.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Tahlequah is basically the Parks & Recreation for the whole community,” said the Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Kelley.

With tackle football as the longest standing athletic program at 12 years, the Club has had basketball for 11 years, and swimming, baseball, flag football and youth wrestling for almost 9 years. All of the programs allow ages 12 years and under to participate, aside from swimming, which allows all ages through high school to join.

Practices are made possible through the Club’s community partnerships with local schools and universities. Tahlequah Public Schools provide a meeting space for the wrestling and football programs.

“We also play football on the fields of Oklahoma Northeastern State University,” said Kelley.

Most Tahlequah residents are familiar with these fantastic athletic programs and the Club spreads the word through their website, Facebook Page, local newspaper, and school calling systems. When the time comes for tryouts, the Club is able to reach every community member with their array of advertising outlets. It also helps that there is a Boys & Girls Club in 12 schools in Cherokee County, which allows the news for sign-ups to travel even faster.

Tryouts consist of a combine, meaning that the youth go through drills and are graded on their skill level for each drill. At the end of the combine, a spreadsheet is created that breaks the youth into three skill categories (high, moderate, and low), providing the volunteer coaches with a general idea of the skill level of each participant. Teams are then drafted by the coaches, who select an even number of youth from each skill level to build teams that are equally matched.

“By creating rosters this way, we are able to accept youth with any level of experience and encourage all community youth to participate,” said Kelley.