POULSBO — Poulsbo Parks and Recreation is looking to score teamwork and a lifelong love of sports with kids as it kicks through its annual Grass Stain Gang soccer program.
The program, offered to children from preschool to 5 years of age, is an introduction to sports, using soccer as the medium to involve kids in working as part of a team — and having a good time doing it.
“The goal of the program is to get kids excited about athletics and involved in them. It’s completely centered around them having fun,” said Poulsbo Parks and Recreation programmer Joe Schiel. “The instructors are really hand- on and get to know the kids on a first-name basis.”
But the instructors and kids aren’t the only ones hitting the pitch.
“We encourage parents to come out and participate in the program,” Schiel said. “A lot of times with kids that are this young, it’s hard for them to kick the ball back and forth to each other. If parents are there, it allows kids to spend more time playing instead of chasing the ball.”
Schiel said the biggest challenge though doesn’t deal with athletics, but rather getting the children to interact with each other.
“Instructors try to keep children engaged as long as they can. We try to get them to interact with each other and have fun,” he said. “Keeping the kids involved is important. We want to teach them how to work together with other individuals. That will be important in the future when they’re playing team sports.”
So will their having a good time — something else Grass Stain Gang Soccer aims to accomplish.
“We hope kids learn and have lots of fun out here,” Schiel said.
Currently, about 80 children are signed up for the program and there are roughly 40 slots open for those who want to participate.
Parents can choose weekday-only classes at Pearson Elementary School or weekday/Saturday classes at Breidablik Elementary School.
“We added a weekday-only session at Pearson for those parents who want to do other things on the weekends,” Schiel said. “We wanted to be flexible and offer the program to as many children as we can.”
Signups for Grass Stain Gang are available at Poulsbo Parks and Recreation. For information, call (360) 779-9898.
The program began on June 4 and runs until July 14.