DECATUR– The Decatur Park District is ramping up their lacrosse program roughly 6 months after receiving a grant from U.S. Lacrosse.
Tuesday night the park district held a camp for 7 to 14 year olds at the DISC in which over 25 kids showed up to participate.
“We want the younger kids to get familiar with the game early on because that will help us grow the sport in the future,” sports supervisor at the Decatur Park District Tony Albertina said.
The camp Tuesday night was more open than the districts earlier camps in which Illinois Weslyan coaches drove down to teach the kids about the sport.
Albertina said that was by design, “The best way for a kid to learn any sport early on is to pick up a ball or a bat or a stick and get familiar with it, and that’s what we view these type of activities as.”
The Park District is implementing lacrosse into its regular list of activities following the success of the sport in northern Illinois, and in neighboring towns of Bloomington and Springfield.
“Springfield is a perfect example of a park district that has recently implemented the sport and has seen success,” Albertina added. “Unlike many youth sports that are experiencing a decline in participation numbers, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America.”
Mt. Zion parent Jill Driscoll said her three boys said they would like to give the sport a try after the park district visited their school in Mt. Zion to promote it, “They came home that day after class and were raving about it and begged me to bring them out here to play.”
Albertina says they are continuing to promote the sport in schools, saying they have already been to roughly 100 PE classes and visited with nearly 2,000 students. “We can’t be happier with how things have gone, the kids have taken to it, they love being able to play a sport that they can learn quickly and we hope to continue to expand into next year.”