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Promotion is critical

No matter the city, youth sports need promotion to fund programs

While there are several different manners in how cities organize their youth sports programs, the common thread involves several levels of promotion, ranging from hand-delivered fliers at the schools, to postcards and to notices in newspapers, radio and TV stations.

With more and more complaints being leveled by parents, coaches, city council members and others about the City of Lawton youth sports programs, The Constitution felt it would be helpful to explain how other larger cities fund, organize and promote their programs.

Among the cities we researched were Ardmore, Enid and Wichita Falls.

Here is a look at what we learned from each organization:

For more than 25 years Ardmore's youth programs have been mostly under the direction of the Ardmore YMCA.

That organization conducts indoor soccer up to fourth grade; basketball to fourth grade; flag football to fifth grade; fastpitch softball in competitive and recreational leagues up to fourth grade; and baseball both recreational and competitive also to the fourth grade.

Jana Weichbrodt is the YMCA Director who coordinates all those programs and not even she knows when the City of Ardmore and the YMCA started working together.

"I've been here for 26 years, so I know it's been at least that long," she said. "We operate basically separate from the city with the exception of baseball and softball where we use two city complexes. They do provide the maintenence on those two complexes. The only revenue we share in any form is that we give them a small percentage of the concession sales to help with those maintenence costs.

"The rest of the funding is handled within our organization. Our fees are $35 for kids whose families are members of the "Y" or $55 for non-members. We also handle all our own concessions, so that helps provide a large portion of our funding."

But as Weichbrodt explains, running such a program is not cheap.

The Lawton Constitution

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