Apex Park and Recreation District youth multi-sport classes, camps grow in popularity

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Spunky Sportsers

People were born to move; and at Apex Park and Recreation District, we applaud and support that fact by offering quality, affordable and enjoyable programs for every age. Several new programs on the young end of that spectrum focus on helping children develop sports and movement fundamentals through multi-sport classes and camps.

A few years ago, Spunky Sportsters was introduced as a multi-activity class for two-year-olds to explore the world of movement at their level: basic body awareness skills, exploring the world through senses and motor skills, and learning social skills such as taking turns and playing with other children. The class includes running, jumping, playing catch and other sports-related activities. “It is beneficial for kids to start with classes that emphasize basic body awareness skills, such as gymnastics, dance and Spunky Sportsters, then progress to the multi-sport or specific sport classes that focus on eye/foot and eye/hand coordination,” said Alli Milne, Apex PRD youth sports coordinator.

After seeing the success of Spunky Sportsters, the district launched Little Athletes for ages 3 to 6. Children learn football, kickball and baseball skills and practice field events such as softball toss and modified long jump. Then there are classic fun activities such as sack races, 3-legged races, obstacle courses and more. “This class builds on physical skills that are appropriate for their age, and also helps parents get an idea of what sports might appeal to their children,” Milne said.

Both the Spunky Sportsters and Little Athletes programs have grown, helping many children and their parents to establish a firm foundation to choose one sport or several. While there are pros and cons for either direction, recreation organizations benefit their communities by offering a wide and age-appropriate variety of sports.

Toward that end, in the summer 2016 session, the district offered a series of sports camps for ages 5-14. The four-week series featured a different activity each week: flag football, basketball, multi-sport and volleyball. “Every day included activity around the specific sport, along with running and agility training,” Milne said. “As kids get older, they build on their body-awareness and coordination skills, taking them to the next level where they have organized their abilities while still having fun.”

Carrie Gomer, manager of the Apex Field House and the Apex Simms Street Center, spoke to the growing trend toward multi-sport activity. “In the past, multi-sports camps weren’t as popular, but now they are growing for ages 3-6. That being said, as kids get older, they often settle into the sports they prefer.”

Apex PRD also offers an abundance of sport-specific leagues, camps and clinics for those who choose to focus on their favorite. These include volleyball, basketball, flag football, soccer, lacrosse and track.

A good plan for parents and children is to keep good awareness and a healthy balance of overall health, fitness and fun, Milne said. “With younger kids, parents are interested to find out what their kids like and what they are good at. Later they often prefer a specific sport, but cross-training is still very important. For example,we have late elementary-age football and basketball teams taking part in our activities to cross-train. Besides learning and having fun with the activity, they learn things like the importance of warming up and strategies for injury prevention.”

Diversifying the sports portfolio sometimes increases the chances that someone will stick with a specific activity, rather than experiencing burnout or injury and giving up what might have been a long-term enjoyable activity, Milne added. “A multi-sport approach helps prevent injuries, takes some of the pressure off, and helps growing bodies adapt.”

Regardless of the activity, Gomer praised the quality and knowledge of Apex PRD’s teaching and coaching staff. “Our organization is where people look for knowledgeable coaches, quality and affordability. Kids may seek high-end specialized training elsewhere, but for a top-quality recreation experience, Apex PRD stands out.”

Gomer cites the emphasis on consistent high quality, fun and experienced leadership as the reasons why the sports programs at Apex Park and Recreation District have grown steadily for the past several years. Retention is very important. We’ve had growth in every season compared to the previous season; the demand is there, and we take pride in offering good quality.”

Apex Park and Recreation District offers a wide range of programs for both multi-sport and single-sport kids -because there’s no 100% one-size-fits-all choice.

In a recent article in Parents Magazine, Rob Bell, sport psychology coach, spoke to the benefits of pursuing the multi-sport option. “Each sport requires its own unique levels of focus and resiliency. Some games, like baseball, are more drawn out and require long-term attention punctuated with quick action. Other sports are all about pacing and endurance. Cross-training helps athletes not just to transfer athletic movements, but also to enhance their appreciation for different types of movements. The balance and variety that comes from playing multiple sports offers keeps young athletes alert, engaged and, literally, on their toes.”

On the other hand, choosing a single sport is not without benefits. Youthletic.com, a Cincinnati-area youth sports organization, identified some positive aspects:

“If it is your child’s choice, and not that of a coach or parent, a single sport focus can fuel their passion. Specializing gives kids more time to practice specific skills in a time-constrained world. There’s often more coaching time available in specialized areas. A single-sport focus offers more potential to develop a routine.”

Whether you have a clear direction on sports choices or are seeking some clarification, have some fun along the way.

Post expires on December 22, 2016

Contact Apex Park and Recreation District in Arvada, CO

Apex Park and Recreation District (Apex PRD) in Arvada, CO, has a wide range of public parks and recreation facilities that offer such activities as pickleball, tennis, golf, swimming, and much more. Founded in 1956, Apex PRD supports adult fitness and kids health for those in Arvada, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Golden, and beyond. Have questions or comments for Apex Park and Recreation District? Use our Contact Us page.