Community leagues fill anticipated void

Published 9:00 am Friday, July 28, 2017

The Winchester YMCA shuttered its doors earlier this year, creating an empty space in youth and community basketball leagues.

The void lasted virtually no time, though.

Some worried that the loss of the YMCA and its gym would leave young basketball players without a home, but the community has responded strongly.

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Bo Harris of Harris Hoops organized a summer league for teens and adults in conjunction with First Baptist Church.

That league is entering tournament time and fresh on its heels, another local group is planning a fall league.

Around the time the YMCA closed, the Association of Churches was looking for ways to expand its outreach for families.

The group plans a league based on Upward Sports.

The league is being spearheaded by six local churches — Calvary Christian, First Baptist on Highland Street, Christview Christian, Grace Baptist, Broadway Christian and Central Baptist. Those churches have facilities available for hosting basketball events, though the gyms are of varying size.

Upward Sports is a Christian youth sports provider with half a million players participating at more than 2,000 churches, according to the organization’s website.

The Upward league will be for children 4 years old up to 12th-graders.

These leagues serve separate age demographics but both are perfect representations of how a community can respond to meet its own needs.

These are not government or taxpayer-funded programs, but simply individuals who sought to not only meet a need for recreational sports but all the other benefits that come with keeping kids and adults involved in physical activity.

Thanks to these groups, fears that Clark Countians would have to travel out of town for these opportunities can be put to sleep.