by Scott Galst, former BYSC Volunteer and BLC Alumni
I attended Brant Lake Camp as a child and worked as a counselor when I was a teenager. It was a special place where many of my greatest childhood memories were created. I’d like to think I knew at the time how lucky I was to be there every summer, but like most kids, I was too caught up in the fun I was having, and just too young and immature, to fully understand. I loved it, but did not fully appreciate how fortunate I was. I do now!
I’ve volunteered for BYSC in the past and have always enjoyed working and mentoring kids, but despite that and the many summers of my youth spent at Brant Lake, I was still surprised and delighted by my recent experience. I gained a whole new perspective when I joined Backyard Sports there this past August with kids from NewFlex Youth Programs and the Youth Shelter of Westchester in Mount Vernon. It had an impact that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Seeing the joy of young men who got to use facilities or experience something they normally would not have access to, sharpened my appreciation beyond what I was capable of as a camper. But my biggest takeaway was the power of community. While the activities were largely centered around sports, it was the opportunity to get to know each of the kids beyond the court and athletic fields – and watching them get to know each other – that I enjoyed most.
I have no doubt that through this experience I learned more than the kids could possibly have learned from me: primarily about the power of opportunity and that all kids should have the chance to express and enjoy themselves freely. Brant Lake Camp is a place to do that, and to create lasting memories. I feel every boy went home with memories from camp they will not soon forget. I know I did.
One of the great byproducts of our community programming is bringing together young athletes of diverse economic zones. A catchphrase I enjoy is that our programs “blend zip codes.” Ultimately, sports participation is blind to color and class. By playing with one another, kids usually discover they have much more in common than their social … Continue reading “Coach’s Corner: Let’s Be Frank About This”
BYSC Board Member and Executive Producer at MSNBC Moshe Arenstein, a founding Backyard Sports Cares Board member, remembers when he first got the call from Danny Bernstein about 10 years ago. “It took me about 20 seconds to realize how great this was.” While he cites Danny’s passion, vision and excitement as the original draw, … Continue reading “Getting to Know Moshe Arenstein”
Backyard Sports Cares recently celebrated Alumni Night at Brazen Fox in New York City. The night was filled with inspirational stories of growth, compassion, and success. It gave our alumni a chance to reconnect with each other and Executive Director Danny Bernstein. The night also provided an opportunity for alumni to learn how they can … Continue reading “Alumni Night”
Partnerships with community organizations that serve at-risk youth allow us to bring the fun, skill and life lessons of high-quality sports programs to hundreds who otherwise would not have access. For the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester (YSOW), we provide a physical education class for students, as well as recreational activities that range from hiking … Continue reading “Honored by the Youth Shelter”
Every year, Backyard Sports Cares organizes an exciting Field Day for the nearly 200 youth enrolled in the White Plains Youth Bureau’s Bits N’ Pieces summer camp. Divided by age group, energetic campers rotate between six activities that include tug of war, relay races, gaga, soccer and more. Overseen by BYSC staff and volunteer coaches, … Continue reading “Bits N’ Pieces Field Day”
“With the support of a larger organization, my help can change a person’s life.” A high school senior who’s been with BYSC since seventh grade, Ryan Pohly is one of our most dedicated and experienced volunteers. He’s with us at Purchase College every Sunday, helping special needs athletes safely enjoy team sports. And, as a … Continue reading “Volunteer BUZZ: Ryan Pohly”