Sports Stories
Larry Nelson is the new program director of the Sedona branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern Arizona.
By Nick Ruland
Larson Newspapers

Larry Nelson is the new program director of the Sedona branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern Arizona.

Already, Nelson has put out some impressive results.

The club is offering a basketball skills clinic open to youth ages 3 to 11 Saturday mornings.

So far, some 60 children have signed up for the program.

?I am very good at organizing, but I am not a basketball player,? Nelson said.

Help with the basketball side has come from a bevy of parents with coaching and sports experience, making the program a success.

?We have had unbelievable support from the parents,? Nelson said.

The clinic is intended to improve motor skills, basketball knowledge and self-confidence.

Two coaches are set up for each group of children. The youths go through two weeks of practice before they enter four weeks of games.

?The youth sports program is intended to reach places that we don?t normal reach,? Nelson said.

Testimonials have come forth exemplifying aims that have been met for some individuals.

?I had a 3-year-old who was just standing there and looked so shy. We had to roll the ball to get her out. She came out and started getting involved. This is a place that we can help with confidence,? Nelson said.

Nelson only had three weeks to garner support and sign-ups for the fledgling program, and he expects the numbers to continue to rise.

After the basketball season comes to a close in four weeks, the Boys and Girls Club will offer indoor soccer.

?We want to expose them to as many opportunities as we can,? Nelson said.

Though soccer is set as the next activity, other programs are in the works which would be similar in structure to the basketball clinic.

?We are going to try to do this year round. A lot of people are individual athletes. The child needs to do something they are interested in. If they are not interested in it, they will not learn,? Nelson said.

Each sport, however, will have the same goals.

As a part of learning the fundamentals of the game and improving motor skills and knowledge, Nelson wants to make sure the youth have fun.

?It is so important that all the kids come in as winners and leave as winners. It is so strictly not about the competitive side,? Nelson said.

Nelson wants to help mold a new local image for the Boys and Girls Club with the help of the new programs.

?We want to reach out to more children and to help people understand that we aren?t just a baby-sitting service. We would like to inspire [kids] and give them the opportunities they may not have normally. It takes children to inspire a village,? Nelson said.

The basketball skills clinic is still open to late sign-ups for the remaining four weeks. For Boys and Girls Club members, the clinic is $48, for nonmembers the cost is $58.