published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Youth Olympics offers young athletes healthy competition for a cause
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Young athletes of all ages will have a new place to showcase their athletic abilities during an upcoming event at the Highlands County YMCA. The Youth Olympics is the newest event produced by the YMCA that allows youth in the community to put their talents on display.
The Youth Olympics is a sports competition that includes a number of different sporting categories for athletes to participate in. The event will allow participants to compete in: an obstacle course, a foot race, football throw, broad jump, basketball shoot, and a freestyle swim.
During each of the competitions, participants will go head to head with fellow athletes in their specific age group. There are four age groups for the competition: 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-14. Each age division will be split up into a boys and a girls group. This split will enable competitors a more fair and efficient competition.
"We want to make it as fair as possible," said YMCA Program Director Dave Scheck.
Funds raised during the Youth Olympics will go to the Bo Alvarez Children's Foundation. This foundation was founded by Michelle Alvarez in 2007, two years after a near drowning in a neighbor's pool of her then 2-year-old son. Bo survived the incident but suffered severe brain damage as a result.
The inaugural event will serve a dual role for young sports enthusiasts; not only does the event give athletes an opportunity to engage in an active lifestyle but it raises money for a local cause. The event will honor Alvarez as well as help raise awareness about water safety throughout the community.
"The money will go to help support our summer camps and swim lessons. Last year we taught around 40 kids to swim. That is important here, in Florida you're surrounded by water - lakes, pools, creeks. If we can have something that gets kids involved, honors Bo and prevent that from happening to another kid again, that's a great thing," Scheck said.
Scheck is excited about the upcoming event, which promises to provide youngsters with healthy and fun competition.
Highlands County YMCA Youth Olympics will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2. The top three placers in each age category will receive a participation medallion. Overall winners in each age group will also receive a trophy. The cost for participation in the YMCA Youth Olympics is $20 per child. Families with multiple children participating may receive a discount for the event. The cost includes lunch and a Youth Olympics T-shirt.
The competition is open to residents from all over Highlands County and surrounding areas. To sign up for the YMCA Youth Olympics benefiting the Bo Alvarez Foundation, drop by the YMCA at 100 YMCA Lane in Sebring.
For more information contact the YMCA at 382-9622.
The YMCA is also gearing up for its annual Christian Concert. Last year's concert featured a large group of local artists that performed for 400 attendees at the South Florida State College auditorium.
This year's Christian Concert will be held at Sebring Middle School Commons. The concert will feature local artists The Wacaster Family, Andrea Mathis Band, BFC Family Band, Justus Martin, Nala Price, and By the Sword.
Concert tickets are on sale now for $10. The ticket price includes three free visits to the Highlands County YMCA. All proceeds from the concert will go directly to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.
The concert will take place from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. For tickets visit the YMCA.
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