Power of sport propels Scottsdale Boys & Girls toward success

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale offers a place for all local youngsters to go after school and during the summer months offering constructive programs like youth sports. (Submitted photo)

The crucial catch in the corner of the end zone, the walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth and the buzzer-beater from behind the arc to win the game are all dreams unfolding in the hearts and minds of boys and girls on playgrounds and backyards across the nation.

More often than not those dreams are started, cultivated — and sometimes even come true — during youth sports leagues available at the local Boys & Girls Club and the community of Scottsdale is no different.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale offer a safe haven for children through after-school programs that make a difference, according to Curt McReynolds, chief operating officer, at the Boys & Girls Club.

“BGCS provides a critical service to families with impactful after-school programming at nine locations across Scottsdale, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, north Phoenix, and Fountain Hills, as well our Peach Springs Branch located on the Hualapai Nation,” he said.

“In addition, BGCS provides all-day programming throughout the summer months, during all breaks — spring, winter, and fall — and sports leagues throughout the year as well.”

A view of the the youth sports program offered by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale has headquarters at 10533 E. Lakeview Drive in central Scottsdale.

For Mr. McReynolds, the ability to participate in local sports can be a life-changing experience for those who participate.

“We believe that youth sports are the catalyst for many of our members to experience the Boys & Girls Clubs,” he said.

“Nationally, many of our most notable club alumni began their respective journey playing youth sports at local Boys & Girls Clubs. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Misty Copeland and so many other incredible athletes participated in youth sports at the Boys & Girls Clubs, providing that outlet to learn the game as youth.”

The ability to fight through life’s transgressions can be picked up on the diamond, court or field of play, experts agree.

“Sports mirror life in so many areas: The ability to fight through adversity, the importance of teamwork and never giving up,” Mr. McReynolds explained.

“All the intangibles that come through participating in sports easily cross over into your everyday life and also the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs. The club is a “place to become” and for many of our club members that journey begins with youth sports. We firmly believe in the overall impact of physical recreation, dedication to a team and the impact of community that is built through youth sports.”

America’s Pastime is one of the many organized sports offered by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

A belief in the power of sport

Turns out, the Scottsdale Charros believe in the power of youth sports and this fiscal year provided the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale an $80,000 grant to help fuel those efforts.

“The Boys and Girls Clubs are a Youth Development Agency working to improve the health and welfare of the children in our community,” said Scottsdale Charro Jason Heetland.

“For every dollar we invest in organizations such as the club, our community exponentially benefits with a reduction of crime, health related costs, and reduced social services costs. But the bottom line is the Charros support the youth and families of Scottsdale and the club is a vital agency to their health and happiness.”

Jason Heetland

For nearly 60 years, the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Mr. Heetland has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club since he was a child.

“I have a long relationship with the club,” he said.

“I was a member starting at 5 years old, I played football and basketball, volunteered as a teenager and worked for the clubs through college and after. The Clubs have been an important leadership builder in Scottsdale and I was fortunate to benefit from their programs.”

In 2017, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale recently named its Paiute location the “Scottsdale Charros Branch” to honor the philanthropic group’s longtime support of the effort. The branch is at 6536 E. Osborn Road in south Scottsdale.

From a peer to peer perspective, the Boys & Girls Club makes a difference, Mr. McReynolds contends.

“We have annual data and metrics that highlight the impact of our services,” he said.

“BGCS members consistently out-perform their non-BGCS peers with high school graduation, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco use and involvement with the arts and recreation activities. Our Club members are active in the community through our Keystone (high school) and Torch Club (middle school) Leadership Programs and understand the value of taking the next steps in their personal journey with post-secondary education and skill-based professions.”

For the Scottsdale Charros, Mr. McReynolds says, it’s about service to the vulnerable of the community.

“We are blessed to have partners such as the Charros and The Charro Foundation,” he said. “The funding from The Charro Foundation provides critical funding to our Charros Branch, located in south Scottsdale, that provides services to low-income families and youth in and around the Paiute Neighborhood Center.”

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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