The Stein Eriksen Youth Sports Alliance Opportunity Endowment reached its initial $2 million goal after a two-year fundraising campaign. This accomplishment was celebrated last week at a reception hosted by Deer Valley. Ted Ligety, a gold-medal alpine skier, Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort, and Jim Gaddis, chairman of the Stein Eriksen YSA Endowment Committee were on hand to talk about the Endowment’s namesake as well as the legacy the Endowment will provide to the community. At the close of the event, Bjorn Eriksen led the crowd in a traditional Norwegian folk song and a toast to his late father.
The Endowment will provide local youth with need-based scholarships to help alleviate training, equipment and travel expenses as well as underwrite fee-waivers for participants in YSA’s Get Out & Play and ACTiV8 after-school learn-to sports programs. The fund was established due to growing demand for support. In 2015/16, YSA awarded $43,000 in training scholarships to 65 athletes in financial need competing for affiliated teams. These scholarships cover training costs, program fees, competition entry fees, travel expenses and equipment needs. Additionally, 179 scholarships were awarded this year to economically disadvantaged elementary school students to participate in YSA’s Get Out & Play after-school sports program.
Currently, funding for scholarships is raised annually at JANS Winter Welcome, a charity auction and dinner coordinated by the YSA to raise money to support the nine affiliated winter sports teams and junior athletes. The permanent endowment is a two-year, $2 million fundraising effort led by the late Stein Eriksen and former YSA President & Founder Jim Gaddis.
At the Endowment’s launch, Eriksen noted, “It is an honor to help support the athletic dreams of Park City’s youth. My life’s passion and work has been about the outdoors, sportsmanship and perseverance and it is rewarding to be able to help make this lifestyle a reality for the young members of our community. I hope to encourage the benefits of teamwork and camaraderie and inspire our local youth to excel in the sports they love.”
Jim Gaddis, Chairman of the Endowment Committee recounted, “Stein once said to me that if you can take a loss the same way you take a victory, then you have what it takes to be a champion. Stein’s legacy to our community is giving kids the chance to learn the important lessons of sport and pursue their dreams.”
The Endowment fund will help ensure that Stein Eriksen’s legacy to the community is fulfilled — a promise to provide Park City’s youth with financial support to chase their dreams.