Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/11/09
From Press Releases
US Lacrosse has announced that the L.E.A.P.S. program of Philadelphia – a grassroots non-profit developed to spark the growth of lacrosse in the inner city – is one of several programs being recognized for overcoming barriers to participation.
The announcement was made Thursday that L.E.A.P.S., considered a BRIDGE program, and five new Emerging Groups have been added into its successful and popular outreach program. Emerging Groups provides financial assistance and resources to newly formed lacrosse programs in areas around the country with traditionally high barriers to participation. BRIDGE (Building Relationships to Initiate Diversity, Growth and Enrichment) provides sustainable programmatic assistance for established lacrosse programs in areas with traditionally high barriers to participation.
L.E.A.P.S., co-directed by Philly pro players and local coaches John Christmas (Penn assistant, graduate of Lower Merion) and Eric Gregg (St. Joseph’s Prep coach, grad of Episcopal Academy) has graduated this year into the US Lacrosse BRIDGE program. L.E.A.P.S. now joins 14 other US Lacrosse BRIDGE teams that receive the following: discounted US Lacrosse membership, Lacrosse Magazine, financial assistance to attend the US Lacrosse National Convention, fee waived for participation in US Lacrosse youth festivals, discounted NCSI Background checks for coaches/administrators, discounted PCA online training, and annual grants/stipends for current BRIDGE teams in good standing.
This past summer L.E.A.P.S. ran numerous clinics in the city to introduce the sport to boys and girls. Recently, a L.E.A.P.S. volunteer coach, Arthur J. Johnson III, was named head coach for the Mastery Charter-Shoemaker campus boys’ team.
The Emerging Groups recognized are New Horizons Lacrosse Fund (Austin, Texas), Newark Youth Lacrosse (Newark, N.Y.), PPPLAX (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Pioneer Valley Girl’s Lacrosse Club (Springfield, Mass.) and Bridgeport Youth Lacrosse, Inc. (Bridgeport, Conn.) are the latest teams to join US Lacrosse’s Emerging Groups. With their membership, the groups may receive discounted US Lacrosse membership, Lacrosse Magazine, an equipment grant, discounted registration for US Lacrosse Coaching Education Program clinics and online courses, discounts on educational DVDs, NCSI Background checks for coaches/administrators and Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) online training.
“We were thrilled with this year’s Emerging Groups and BRIDGE applications,” said Mary Cate Slay, manager of youth development. “Each of these programs has done the work and research to grow lacrosse successfully in their cities and towns. US Lacrosse is here to help them get to the next level.”
Interested teams or leagues can apply annually to be a part of the Emerging Groups or BRIDGE programs. Applications are due in early fall and accepted groups are notified in December each year. More information can be found on www.uslacrosse.org/youthportal.