News Football Builds Home

Idaho Press Tribune 18 Feb 2002 - Front Page

Optimist Youth Football builds new home

Optimist Park construction starts, but funding needed

Lora Volkert

NAMPA -- If all goes as planned, more than 500 kids will be playing football and shouting cheers this summer at a new park behind the Vallivue School District’s new elementary school.

Donations needed

For more information about the Nampa Optimist Youth Football Program or to make a donation to the Optimist Park effort, call Kenny Wroten at 371-7387 or Ken Wilson, coach and past commissioner of the football committee, at 880-1099.

Future Nampa Optimist Park

Optimist Park, located behind Birch Elementary near the Ridgecrest Golf Course, will be the home of seven football fields for participants in Nampa Optimist Youth Football. Progress is being made, according to football committee spokesman Kenny Wroten.

The park ground has been leveled and staked. Gravel has been laid down for parking lots and workers will soon be ready to pave them. Also, ground is being built up into ledges for bleachers.

Although Wroten doesn’t expect all the outbuildings -- including a concession stand and a storage building for football equipment -- will be ready by summer, he hopes the fields will be prepared in time for end-zone rushes and field goals.

Page 5a

Football: Inclusiveness is key

The fields will be shared by 25 to 30 teams of kids ages 7 to 12. Seven- and 8-year-olds will play flag football and 9- to 12-year-olds will play tackle football. Cheerleaders -- from 7 to 12 years old -- will be on hand to offer a good dose of encouragement.

Wroten believes the park’s importance comes down to more than letting kids learn to enjoy football.

"They learn to be a team player, how important teamwork is, they learn responsibility and dedication to something," he said.

The advantage of Optimist Youth Football, Wroten said, is its inclusiveness.

"They show up, they play," he said. "They don’t have to try out. Our goal is to include as many kids as possible and not to exclude any. By our rules, kids have to play a certain amount of time. They go to practice and they are part of the team."

The club is still trying to raise money for sprinkler systems, buildings and other construction. Businesses and individuals can sponsor teams or join the park’s Founders Club -- of which Healthy Nampa Healthy Youth has been a major sponsor -- with a donation.

Corporations or organizations can even sponsor a football field, Wroten said, or local businesses can offer discounts on their services or products as part of fund-raising efforts. Parents also can volunteer to coach or raise funds.

Reprinted by permission of Idaho Press Tribune

Note: Article retyped in HTML for better readability