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KGYAA continues to set recreational youth sports standard

The bar for community recreational sportsmanship and athletics begins with KGYAA.

Beginning in 2007, KGYAA changed the face of recreational sports and lifted the level of sports in King George. Because of the efforts of King George Athletic Association founders, Jim Salyers, Jr., Jim Sherman, and George Estes the organization has created a football and cheerleading foundation for thousands of kids during the past six years.

The wholesome family atmosphere associated with KGYAA has become a staple in the King George County sports community. “It is true that fathers, as coaches, typically become involved in the interest of sharing their son’s interest and passion for the sport,” Salyers said. “But from there most seem to find themselves not only strengthening their own familial ties, but also forging close bonds with all of the participants in their charge. Football, particularly tackle football, can be a grind, a real test of endurance. And through that experience, through all of the ups and downs, and through all of the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’, strong bonds are invariably forged.”

In fact during its inaugural season KGYAA began with seven tackle football teams, ranging in ages 8-14. In addition, there were 20-25 cheerleading participants on six of seven teams, and nearly 30 aspiring cheerleaders on the oldest team.

During the day, Salyers is an employee of NSWC, as a computer scientist. However, after the office day is over, Salyers is hard at work gathering game results data and writing news articles for KGYAA. Like many other youth sports volunteers, Salyers is committed to serving the best interest of the community.

During the spring season, the KGYAA flag football season is in full effect. “While we established the spring flag football program as a primer for the fall tackle football program, what we really have are two distinct programs that attracted a broad spectrum of participants,” Salyers said. “More specifically, we have a great many participants who play either flag football exclusively, or tackle football exclusively, and then also a great many who do indeed do both.”

Also, since that season, KGYAA has expanded in ages and division, while incorporating a successful spring flag football program. The fall football programs fielded 16 teams. Recently, during the 2013 spring season, there were 26 teams under the wing of KGYAA. Currently, with the fall season approaching, they have already created teams.

Not only has the program increased the depth of the sports programs in King George, but it has provided the high school teams with seasoned athletes capable of making an impact on day one.

“Our initial goal, quite frankly, was simply to get the association ‘off the ground’ and begin the long trek of establishing a pedigree and good name recognition,” Salyers said. “Our vision has always been to provide outstanding football and cheerleading opportunities to a broad spectrum of participants, and to provide a friendly, sportsmanlike environment in which our young athletes can develop their skills and compete. That we’re entering our 12th overall season of football and cheerleading, I think, attests to our collective success to date.”

After serving in the United States Marine Corps (1992-1996), Salyers, a longtime community sports volunteer, has a clear understanding of what it takes to build an organization that has the support of the community, and the best interest of the athlete. Younger kids are given the same opportunities as their older counterparts.

“We are not, and never will be, an exclusive organization that discriminates based on ability with a view prioritized towards winning or attaining adolescent glory,” Salyers said. “We pride ourselves on being family-friendly and accepting of all skills and abilities, from the adventuring novice, to the experienced veteran. And so with our focus is true and our sights set squarely on emphasizing leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship. We aim through our dedicated volunteers to develop and reinforce the football fundamentals for every participant regardless of age.”

On the other end of the sports spectrum is the KGYAA cheerleading program, which is led by cheerleading director Leslie Dalton. Dalton’s assistant is Claudia Barboza. The size and scope of the program is dependent upon community interest.

The experience of watching young men, and women reach their athletic goals is priceless for all KGYAA volunteers. “I just want to say working with the KGYAA has been a very rewarding experience,” Salyers said. “It has been very demanding of my time and energy (and not without a little stress), but when on a given weekend at Sealston you see hundreds of boys and girls enjoying the fruits of your labor, it is really well worth it.”

With the continued support of the community and the undying commitment of the KGYAA board of directors, the programs will continue to be the standard of recreational excellence for many years to come.

Leonard Banks
Sports editor

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