Emanuela P. Leaf
There are a number of studies supporting the benefits of youth sports participation, including increased academic achievement and physical, social and psychological wellbeing.
But one can also argue that in diverse communities where large numbers of new immigrants can be found, youth sports can also have the power to break down cultural barriers and bring a community closer together.
Through youth sports, families and children come together regardless of where they come from, what language they speak and how much money they make with the common goal to work with each other under the leadership of a coach for the sake of the team.
Although being a part of youth sports may not be feasible for all families, and not be of interest to all children, there are some who do have the inclination and they may be unsure on how to go about participating, or not fully familiar with the sports offered.
Beginning in our next issue, number 401, Tribuna will partner with the Danbury Athletic Youth Organization (D.A.Y.O) to create a monthly column that will explore the benefits of youth sports, highlight local young athletes and families and delve into the history of the sports that are staples of American culture in hopes to increase participation from immigrant communities in such activities.
“We are so excited for the opportunity given to us by Tribuna to have a monthly sport column reaching out to families that speak/read English, Spanish and Portuguese,” said Estela Camacho, secretary of the Danbury Athletic Youth Organization.
D.A.Y.O. is a non-profit organization founded in 1978 by a group of parents to promote organized youth sports with the best possible guidance for the participants. Its mission is to provide quality athletic programs to the youth of Danbury, in a safe and structured environment, and to teach fundamental skills and life-long values, including dedication, commitment and teamwork, while encouraging academic excellence.
According to Camacho, there are various youth sports opportunities for families in our community to consider for their child(ren), but many may not be familiar with the history and rules of each of the sports offered.
“Thanks to Tribuna, we will be able to explain each of the sports, [and] give realistic expectations about registration fees, equipment essentials, practice commitments, parental duties and obligations,” said Camacho.
All of D.A.Y.O.’s board of directors and commissioners are volunteers. The success of this organization is due to their commitment and dedication. It is also attributed to the present and prior board of directors, commissioners, parent volunteers and D.A.Y.O. supporters. While D.A.Y.O. started with Football and Cheer, it now offers the following sports: T-Ball, Born to Play, Rookie Ball, Basketball Middle School and High School, Track & Field 4th thru 8th grade, Flag Football, Danbury Lacrosse, Speed & Agility Camp, Danbury Trojans Football and Cheer.
Every sport has its own commissioner and conducts its own fundraising to help keep costs down for our parents.
“We want ALL children to have an opportunity to play regardless of their skills, ethnicity, gender and economic status. Danbury Athletic Youth Organization promotes academic excellence for all participants regardless of sport activity and offers assistance when appropriate to families in exchange for volunteer involvement within the organization,” explained Camacho.
So look for D.A.Y.O’s Sports column in our next issue to learn more about these opportunities and support our local players and teams