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Civitan football transferring to CCYA

After 40 years of sponsoring youth football, the Winchester Civitan Club is turning over its program to a new organization, Clark County Youth Athletics.

“The decision was not made lightly by the Civitan board,” the civic club said in a statement on its Facebook page June 17. “We will continue to be involved and help to ensure a smooth transition so that there is no delay in the Clark County youth football program.”

“The new organization will allow more manpower to assist with the many tasks that have to happen behind the scenes,” the group explained.

James Day and Kevin Warner, who have been Civitan football coaches, will head up the new organization. Civitan gave Day’s phone number as a point of contact.

Clark County Youth Athletics plans to have its first open meeting at the Lykins Park shelter on Mount Sterling Road at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Anyone interested in being involved in the program is welcome to attend, CCYA announced Sunday on its Facebook page.

Day said in an interview Friday that when he heard Civitan wasn’t going to have a youth football season this year, he offered to buy its equipment and start a locally run, independent program.

“They were aging out, and they didn’t have as many young, active members as they needed,” Day said, who is in his 40s. He and Warner were players on the George Rogers Clark High School 1991 state championship team and have been involved in coaching and mentoring kids through the sport.

He said they have established a 501 c 3 organization with the help of attorney Brian Thomas, and Chad Burkhart of Spike Fish Designs is developing a website where parents can sign up their children to play.

“Really, what we’re trying to do is breathe a fresh breath” into the program, Day said.

But to do that, he said, he and Warner need many volunteers. Football is different from basketball, he said, in that it requires a great deal of prep work to mow and stripe fields and run practices before Sunday game days.

Day said he would like to be able to take the program on the road and eventually have a youth athletics complex, but not this year.

For 2020, he is hoping to have four second-and-third-grade teams and four or five fourth-through-sixth teams.

“There wouldn’t have been a season if we hadn’t stepped up,” he said.

And he doesn’t know when there will be a season because of COVID-19. They’re waiting to see what rules the state comes up with for kids in high-contact sports, but he’s hoping to have signups by mid-July.

“I don’t think kids should be in masks out there,” he said, adding that “It’s hard enough to breathe” in the summer heat when playing the game.

There may be a nominal fee of about $25 the first year to help offset some expenses and get some “buy-in” from parents and guardians, he said. But he expects most of the money will come out of his and Warner’s pockets.

Day, who got his start in football playing for Civitan in the 1980s, said he’s “passionate about the sport” and about helping to shape kids into being better.

“Our payment is when that kid gets up and he’s just achieved something he didn’t think he could do and he’s got a big smile on his face,” he said. “When you take a kid and make him achieve more than he thinks he’s capable of, then you’re a good coach.”

Day said he won’t be coaching this year, just managing the organization.

He’s also on the Little League board because his daughter plays softball.

“In my mind, there’s a vision of that first day and what the season is going to be like,” but he’s going to have to have a lot of help to make it happen, he said.

Day said anyone who wants to volunteer or learn more about the program may call him at 859-248-1186 or email him at jday@bydaygc.com.

Civitan still intends to continue its youth basketball program, involvement with Special Olympics and other activities.

Janna Campbell, president of Winchester Civitan, wished the new group well.

“It’s a good program, and we hope Jimmy and Kevin Warner can keep it going,” she said.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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