The Youth Sports Alliance is opening up registration for its fall programs on Friday. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the annual Jans Winter Welcome will not happen in its traditional form but the YSA does have other plans to raise funds for this year’s programs.
The Youth Sports Alliance was founded after the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to spearhead a community-wide effort to increase the number of children participating in winter sports in the greater Park City area. That effort has expanded over the years to offer after-school programming to community youth.
The Alliance’s annual fundraiser is the black-tie Jans Winter Welcome and is usually held each fall. Due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s Winter Welcome will not be held in person, but the YSA executive director Emily Fisher says although fundraising has looked a little different this year, she has still seen an encouraging amount of generosity from donors.
“We’ve been reaching out to our individual donors and just letting them know what we’re doing,” she said. “Most of our donors have come and they have either donated at the same level as in the past or at a higher level. I’m just very thankful to this community that they prioritize the mental and health wellness of our programs and of our sports clubs.”
New this year is the YSA’s 1,000 Level Campaign to raise $400,000 for its programs. Fisher says they are already about 40% of the way to their goal. She adds that if donors contribute $1,000 or more to the online fundraiser, they will have their pick of a $100 gift card to several local businesses like Jans Mountain Outfitters, Baja Cantina, and Riverhorse on Main.
“We’re purchasing those gift cards to support those local businesses that have done an amazing job supporting us in the past,” she said. “Anyone who supports the Jans Winter Welcome campaign at $1,000 or more will get one of those gift cards.”
Fisher says all the money donated will go to the sports teams the YSA supports such as the Figure Skating Club of Park City, Park City Ice Miners Hockey, Park City Ski & Snowboard, Park City Speed Skating Club, Utah Olympic Park Bobsled and Skeleton, Wasatch Freestyle, and the Wasatch Luge Club.
In addition to the fundraising campaign, Fisher says the YSA has also expanded its scholarship programs to specifically target low-income families who are interested in getting their children into winter sports. The YSA already offers scholarships for families who qualify for free and reduced school lunch programs and Fisher says they are excited to be expanding their program.
“What we found is that families that are in between that free and reduced lunch and basically about the $80,000 level, we have our least amount of participation,” she said. “According to the Aspen Institute, 65% of low-income kids, which is in that above free and reduced lunch but below $80,000, don’t participate in sports so we’ve created a second tier of scholarships for students who, again, don’t qualify for free and reduced lunch but are under that income cap.”
Registration for fall YSA programs starts on Friday, Aug. 14. Fisher says all of the YSA’s teams have done a great job at adapting to the new COVID-19 situation. All fall programs will be held in smaller groups and exclusively outdoors, in addition to following all state and local health guidelines.
For more information on the Youth Sports Alliance, their fundraising drive, or to register for fall programs, visit YSAparkcity.org.