“All kids deserve the chance to play and experience all that sports has to offer,” said Ripken. “Under Fred Engh’s leadership Game On! has made great strides in bringing the opportunity of sports to kids around the world.”
Gaining Ripken’s support will further IAYS’ efforts that recently were significantly enhanced by partnering with Children International, a U.S.-based humanitarian organization which helps more than 335,000 poor children worldwide.
“Having Cal Ripken’s support with the efforts we are undertaking with Children Internationalwill allow us to showcase to the world that sports truly are the outdoor classroom of life,” said Fred Engh, founder and president of IAYS. “Sports, when they are done the right way, teach children so many valuable skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their life and no child anywhere in the world should ever be denied those opportunities.”
Ripken will provide advice and guidance to IAYS and Fred Engh.
“I know from the first time I met Cal that his ultimate goal has been to see children benefit from sports done the Ripken Way,” Engh said. “The goals and philosophies of Game On! mesh perfectly with Cal’s approach to teaching children sports.”
“When I first heard about Game On! several years ago I liked the concept very much. Now Fred has taken the concept and made it a reality,” said Ripken. “Many kids have benefited from the program and I hope many more will do so in the future.”
Game On! Youth Sports was created by the IAYS to address issues that hinder sports programming for children and to give them opportunities to participate in sports, and experience healthier lifestyles that involve fewer chances of taking part in negative activities. Game On! Youth Sports programs have been held throughout Africa, India, Central America and the Caribbean. The IAYS features regional offices in Zambia, Trinidad, Mexico and India.
One of the many unique aspects of Game On! is that besides teaching sports skills, encouraging participation and promoting positive competition in a fun atmosphere, it also integrates a variety of life skills into the sessions. Children learn the importance of staying in school, how to make sound decisions, resist peer pressure and resolve conflicts.
Game On! also encourages participation from parents, teachers, teens and volunteers wishing to coach teams and organize games. By providing volunteer training, IAYS teaches parents and volunteers interpersonal communication skills which improve their relationships with children in their community. Training also enables teens to co-captain many younger teams and serve as positive role models.
The program has mass appeal to children of all ages and races, as it has been embraced by youngsters living in AIDS-ravaged countries in Africa as well as remote villages in India, to name just a few areas where it has had a significant impact.
The Game On! Youth Sports philosophy rests on the notion that once children have developed basic sports skills they are equipped with the confidence and motivation necessary to participate in the many physical and social activities that life offers.
Established in 1936, Children International is a nonprofit organization with its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Children International’s programs benefit more than 335,000 sponsored children and their families in 11 countries around the world including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Zambia, Honduras, India, the Philippines and the United States. For more information about Children International, visitwww.children.org.