Bridging cultural differences through sport: Visiting UK coaches introduce rugby and cricket to Westchester grade schoolers

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Backyard Sports Cares “guest counselors”, Rhodrey Dafydd and Tom Finnigan of the United Kingdom, recently spent the month of May participating in our afterschool and special needs programs.  They led early morning and recess rugby and cricket programs to elementary school students in White Plains and New Rochelle. They also assisted in a physical education (PE) program for residents of the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester.  Here is a reflection of their experience.

By Rhodrey Dafydd

When Danny Bernstein talked about having us work for BYSC nine months ago, Tom Finnigan and I were interested in the opportunity from the moment he mentioned the idea. After further conversations during the holiday season in Edinburgh, we rang in the new year and got the ball rolling on this adventure. As winter turned to spring, and spring very quickly turned to summer, our bags were packed and it was time to head to the USA. We landed on Sunday evening and after filling our bellies with a typical XXL American burger, we found ourselves pumping up Rugby balls in the living room ready to start work at 7am the next morning.

Coaching rugby, a virtually unknown sport amongst children in the US, was a challenge we were ready for. The following morning, adorned in our new Backyard Sports staff shirts, we set out to introduce rugby to approximately 120 children in Church Street School, White Plains. The first session went by in an instant, and with help from Coach Danny we achieved what we set out to do. We had kids running around passing a Rugby ball with beaming smiles on their face and having fun. Over the next three weeks we travelled all over the Westchester area working in many schools in White Plains, Mt. Vernon and New Rochelle.

Having the opportunity to work for BYSC and coach rugby, a sport that many Americans are unaware of, was a great experience that Tom and I will cherish for a very long time. No matter your age, cultural ethnicity, income level or language, sports breaks down barriers and serves as an excellent tool to build relationships among diverse peer groups.

WVOX-AM “Wartburg Cares” Radio Show Features Backyard Sports Cares

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Categories Backyard Sports Cares, inclusive sports, At risk youth

  On September 20, 2017, Backyard Sports was given the incredible opportunity to co-host a local radio show through WVOX and Wartburg Cares Radio. Produced by Angela Ciminello, Vice President of Development and Marketing at the Wartburg Adult Care Community in Mount Vernon, Backyard Sports Cares Executive Director, Danny Bernstein and Dillon Faulkner, were able … Continue reading “WVOX-AM “Wartburg Cares” Radio Show Features Backyard Sports Cares”

Backyard Sports+ Special Needs Athletes Play GaGa at SUNY Purchase

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sportsTags

This past weekend our Backyard Sports Plus Special Need athletes and coaches were treated to an indoor session of GaGa at Purchase College.  The GaGa pits were provided courtesy of Scott Blumberg and Talon Athletics, a local GaGa activity provider and manufacturer of GaGa specialty equipment. The players received progressive skill instruction, including striking a … Continue reading “Backyard Sports+ Special Needs Athletes Play GaGa at SUNY Purchase”

Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Sports Programming to New England

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sports

  This fall, Backyard Sports Cares launched its first soccer program for kids with Special Needs in Weston, CT. In collaboration with the Weston, CT, Parks & Recreation Department, the program has gotten off to a great start with enthusiastic volunteers from Weston High School helping to teach young athletes soccer skills, while having lots … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Sports Programming to New England”

Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League Gets Going!

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Categories inclusive sports, special needs sports, basketballTags ,

Thanks to our teen coaches and players for a successful start to the Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League.  Coach Vin Minotti led the group in clinical instruction followed by inclusive competitive basketball games for the squad.  We meet Sunday mornings at 10am at the main gym at Purchase College for all interested teen players and … Continue reading “Backyard Sports Plus Teen Basketball League Gets Going!”

Tennis Anyone?

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Categories special needs tennis, inclusive sports

Backyard Sports Cares Brings Special Needs Friends & Fun to the Court Volunteers and members of Backyard Sports gathered at Ridgeway Alliance Church in White Plains on Sunday, April 3rd, for some intense and competitive games geared around the exhilarating game of tennis. The tennis program, led by Backyard Sports Cares and teen volunteers, helps … Continue reading “Tennis Anyone?”

BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players

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Categories inclusive sports, Soccer, football, basketballTags , , ,

Backyard Sports Cares (BYSC) has launched a new Sports League for middle school and high school kids with special needs. The unique and appropriately competitive 6-week program will run through mid-June with practices and games taking place at Purchase College. In addition to soccer, the league will resume in the fall with other sports, including … Continue reading “BYSC Kicks Off Teen Sports League for Competitive Special Needs Players”

3-on-3 Tournament Raises Awareness and Celebrates Day of Community Connection

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Categories Backyard Sports Cares, 3 on 3, inclusive sportsTags

For Special Needs Players and Typical Peers, Sports are a Barrier Breaker On Sunday, April 19th, we host our third annual 3-on-3 Tournament.  This event means so much to our organization and the kids that we serve.  In addition to raising funds that keep our programs going, equally important, is the opportunity to raise awareness … Continue reading “3-on-3 Tournament Raises Awareness and Celebrates Day of Community Connection”