The Youth Winter Sports Alliance (YWSA) was initially established to create a legacy for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games by spearheading a community-wide effort to increase the number of children who actively participate in winter sport programs from the greater Park City area, as well as the surrounding Summit and Wasatch Counties in Utah.
Since its inception in 2003, the Alliance has been one of the community’s leading advocates in getting the youth of Park City involved in winter sports. The YWSA takes to heart statistics that show children involved in sports lead healthier lives, are more motivated, and make better choices than those who are idle. The Alliance views sports participation as a means to address the ever increasing issue of childhood obesity through increased physical activity and lifestyle changes. Participants learn about commitment and hard work, as well as sportsmanship and respect. Whether recreational participants, or elite athletes aspiring to be world-class competitors, involvement in sports programs builds character in a positive, structured environment.
The YWSA seeks to involve youth through its outreach programs to schools in Summit and Wasatch County by presenting at assemblies and community school festivals to create awareness of the available winter sports opportunities. Working with schools, physical education teachers and community resources, the Alliance seeks to increase sports participation by increasing awareness, generating interest and excitement while facilitating access to over a dozen different winter sports programs.
The Youth Winter Sports Alliance (YWSA) is winding down from a very busy winter season. The season kicked off with Jans Winter Welcome in October, Park City’s Premier black-tie event, where $400,000 was raised in support of our local junior athletes. We then jumped to the Get Out & Play program where over 1000 Park City elementary students geared up, hopped on a bus, and hit the snow. Kids had the opportunity to get out and ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, Nordic jump, freeride or freestyle ski. The Alliance and Community partners awarded 120 scholarships, giving these deserving kids an opportunity they would not otherwise have had to participant in an after school sports program.
Over the winter season the Alliance awards grant funds to its member winter sports teams and scholarships to a variety of local athletes. Awarding these funds is just one step YWSA takes in fulfilling its mission to support winter sports activities for youth in Summit and Wasatch counties, promoting good sportsmanship and healthy lifestyles through participation, education and competition.
Grants are awarded to member clubs for equipment, training venue improvements and travel expenses to support the programs and their participants. Park City boasts Olympic training venues, elite-level coaching, and first-class training programs, all of which come at a huge cost. Reaching potential in these sports means expensive equipment, supplementary coaching, more time at the venue, and traveling to high-level competitions.
YWSA also awards thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to assist youth in participating in programs and attaining their goals. This year YWSA awarded over $25,000 in scholarships, which are distributed on a financial-need basis. Support was given to athletes in the community for programs fees, competition and travel fees and post-season travel – those who qualified for championship events and needed extra help getting there. This is why it is so important for the continued support of the Alliance through sponsorship and donation, so the youth of our community can continue to reach their potential and goals in winter sports.
Today, ten years after Park City hosted the Olympic Winter Games and the inception of the Youth Winter Sports Alliance, Park City’s youth have flourished in the sports venues left in the legacy of the Games. Our youth learn about healthy lifestyles, sportsmanship, and gain confidence – all building blocks for life.