Our View: Great to see Upward growth

Published 9:33 am Friday, December 7, 2018

When the Winchester YMCA closed a couple years ago, many people in the community was concerned over the loss of the sports leagues offered through the program.

Thankfully, that gap has been filled time and again

Perhaps unmatched is the impact Upward 40391 has had in that arena.

The growing Christian-based basketball league, which also offered cheerleading, started its second year in November.

The league is a collaborative efforts of local churches and community volunteers.

Upward 40391’s first season had about 860 players, and this year, about 940 players are signed up and ready to play. Upward includes players of all ages from preschool to 12th grade.

This year, the program awarded about 500 scholarships, making it possible for even the most in-need children to participate.

Eight churches are involved this year including Calvary, Central Baptist Church, Christ Church Winchester, Christview Christian Church, Fellowship of Believers, First Baptist Church Winchester, First Church of God and Trinity Church of God.

While the league serves as an opportunity for children to remain physically active, it is so much more.

Youth sports teach about teamwork. It offers athletes a place to make new friends and be exposed to positive role models.

According to the National Council of Youth Sports, young athletes also typically have higher self-esteem, reduced depression and fewer instances of problem behaviors like aggression, social problems and delinquency.

Upward also creates a space for young people to work together across racial, socioeconomic and denominational areas.

We are excited to see this program continue to grow in Winchester. It has become one of the largest Upward programs in central Kentucky and that is an impressive reflection of the dedicated efforts of the many churches and volunteers involved.