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Sports program helps keep kids off street

Sports program helps keep kids off street

Kids warm up by jogging around the field at Wakefield Elementary during the Westside Ministries soccer camp on Tuesday afternoon.


POSTED June 27, 2009 5:42 p.m.
These kids could have easily stayed at home, maybe watch some cartoons while having their favorite plate of food in front of them. Or perhaps find something more troublesome to do.
Instead they’re underneath the hot sun, running and smiling.
That’s what Lydio Banana likes to see. He’s the director of the Westside Ministries sports camps, and his job is to help keep kids off the street by giving them something positive to do instead. On Tuesday, the dozens of kids who showed up at the sports camp at Wakefield Elementary — the free program is in its fifth year — participated in soccer drills and activities.
“This is a great opportunity for kids during the day to stay off the street,” Banana said.
The first two weeks of the program is all about soccer, as this session of the sport ends Thursday. The day begins at 6 p.m. with stretches and laps around the field, concluding with soccer drills and games at 8:30 p.m.
Next up is the new Sports Mania, involving various sports. Held at Columbia Park, it starts Monday and runs through July 2, with sessions beginning from 9 a.m. and going to 11:30 a.m.
Football sports camp is July 6-9 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The annual summer program ends with basketball, as it takes place July 13-16, also from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The kids seem to enjoy the sessions, as plenty of them make it out to the practices despite the hot conditions. And that’s why Turlock High soccer coach Doug Sperry has several of his players involved.
“It’s great to give back,” he said. “It teaches our kids something and they love to do this. They probably have more fun than the kids.”
Westside Ministries is always looking for volunteers, as well as donations to help keep the program going. Call 667-8593 for more information.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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