Battle Ground Community Education (BGCE) will launch its co-ed volleyball program for kids in fifth to eighth grade on Oct. 1.
BGCE program coordinator Kim Sutton said the eight week long program is one of a slew of offerings that focus on things like martial arts and basketball.
“We have community participants that sign up for our co-ed teams and once those are getting established, we start looking for some volunteer coaches,” Sutton said.
Since all of the coaches are volunteers, she said each one must go through a clearance process. They then schedule eight weeks of games, which she said take place on weeknights and on Saturdays at different schools in the area. Sutton has a personal interest that inspired her to run the program.
“My daughter plays volleyball, although she’s in high school, so I’ve been involved in it for quite some time, so I’ve got an affinity specifically for volleyball” she said. “I am a big supporter of youth sports specifically, but definitely just youth activities. I think any time you can get the kids out there doing some scheduled productive activities keeps them on the right track.”
Sutton said sports also teach kids a lot of life skills, like communication, structure, being a team player and listening to direction.
“They’ve got to get their bag ready, they’ve got to get their sports equipment ready, so having responsibilities for their own activities is a really good life skill,” she said.
She noted the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges for the program.
“It was exciting to be able to get out and play even though masks were implemented for part of the season. We’re still building some programs back up, but what I have found is that the community as a whole, they’re ready,” Sutton said. “Everybody’s ready. They want normalcy. We’re right there on the cusp of just being completely back to what we all recall, what we all remember before COVID.”
Besides volleyball, she said BGCE also runs a basketball program in the winter and they host adult exercise classes, yoga, piano lessons, and martial arts. During much of the pandemic, the programs were dormant, but Sutton said they will all return in the coming months.
“I’m super excited, everybody’s excited. The athletes, the parents, the referees, employees, volunteer coaches, we’re all just ready. We’ve been ready,” Sutton said.
Sutton said the demand for the volleyball program tends to fluctuate each year.
“Participation levels wax and wane,” she said. “Sometimes you have bigger classes, like Battle Ground High School is getting ready to have a ginormous class. So several years ago, we had an influx of participants in our programs and then you get a smaller group of kids that age. But we’ve always had consistent numbers, sometimes they are just bigger than others.”
Sutton said the kids in the program start developing a love for team development and camaraderie, as they learn to push themselves to do things they didn’t know they were capable of.
“For a lot of them, they get to have their parent there either cheering them on or coaching them, so it’s a fantastic experience for everybody,” she said.
Sutton said parents typically register toward the end of the registration period, so she expects a surge of registrations near the deadline, which is on Aug. 31.
Parents can register online at wa-battleground.intouchreceipting.com.
For more information, call 360-885-6584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.