After sports programs were cut at some Marysville schools, the YMCA and the Marysville Boys & Girls Club will step in to help provide athletic opportunities for middle school students in Marysville.
A grant from Snohomish County will also support the athletic programs.
The Marysville School District faced a budget shortfall of more than $13 million this summer because of two levy proposals being rejected earlier in the year.
School board members had to reduce spending and some sports programs were cut, including all middle school sports.
Tom Cohee, athletic director with the Marysville Boys & Girls Club, said that he has kids go through the Marysville School District and the sports programs there helped provide community and teach them leadership.
“The kids needed it and we thought, we have an avenue here where we can provide that,” said Cohee.
County Council member Nate Nehring said he’s gone through Marysville schools as well, in addition to both he and his wife coaching youth sports.
“So it was really sad to hear that those middle school sports may not happen this year,” said Nehring. “Particularly during a time when we are coming out of the pandemic and there have been issues with isolation."
He also heard from many residents who wanted middle school sports to continue.
“When schools sports were getting cut there were a lot of people in the community that had concerns about that,” said Nehring.
Nehring said he reached out to local groups to see what kind of alternative could be provided, even if it wasn’t through the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the group that organizes athletic activities in secondary schools in Washington state.
“We wanted some sort of program that will at least get the kids outside and playing sports again,” said Nehring.
Snohomish County approved a grant request for $25,000 in funding for 2022 and $50,000 for 2023 for the Marysville YMCA and the Marysville Boys & Girls Club to run sports programs.
That will pay for equipment, game necessities such as port-o-potties and some staffing to coordinate the effort.
Families will have a rate that is reduced from the normal athletic fees collected by the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club, and comparable to the fees that the Marysville School District has implemented for their high school sports this year, according to Nehring.
The YMCA will be running some of the sports leagues while the Boys & Girls Club will run others.
For instance, this fall the Boys & Girls Club is running flag football, volleyball and soccer for some grades.
Practice and games will be taking place at the Boys & Girls Club, with potential for some practice at local middle schools as well if the program becomes large enough.
“If we get enough registrations and coaches, we may use some of the middle schools for those extra spots,” said Cohee.
There is not enough manpower in the program to run all of the sports practices at schools.
“We don’t have the staff to run programs at three different schools every day,” said Cohee.
They are still looking for volunteer coaches as well, which is a time commitment of about three to four hours per week.
A background check is required, although the Boys & Girls Club will pay for it.
“Right now the background checks are coming back in about a day, but if it gets busy you may need a week or two,” said Cohee.
Those interested in volunteering as a coach or registering their child for a sports program can visit the Marysville Boys & Girls Club at 1010 Beach Ave., Marysville, or call 360-659-2576.
Online registration is also available by going to bgcsc.org/clubs/marysville-club and clicking the “Sports” link.
Nehring said he was glad the community could come together to provide these opportunities.
“I’m really grateful for all the people that have helped put this together,” he said.