Start Smart introduces tots to world of sports | SierraSun.com

Start Smart introduces tots to world of sports

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

Thanks to the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, it’s not just new traffic laws and tax regulations that are going into effect at the start of 2002.

Starting on Jan. 10, the district is offering, for the first time, the nationally known Start Smart program.

Start Smart is an instructional program for 3 to 5-year old children designed to prepare them for organized sports.

But it is unique in that it teaches parents how to teach their children the ABCs of athletics.

“A facilitator comes in and teaches the parents how to teach their kids how to throw or catch a ball,” said TDRPD Recreation Superintendent Dan O’Gorman. “The program has been around four years nationwide, and it’s run through the National Alliance for Youth Sports.”

Parents, under the guidance of TDRPD staff, work with their children on the basic skills of throwing, catching, kicking and batting.

“It’s the basics, like throwing and catching a ball, or a football, or dribbling a soccer ball. It’s a starter program for all of the sports,” said TDRPD Youth Sports Director Angelo Tenorio.

“And it’s an opportunity for parents to get involved at an early age and teach basic motor skills,” he added. “And as youth director, it gives me a chance to meet the parents.”

According to O’Gorman, there is a history of parent participation in youth activities in the Truckee area.

“One thing we have noticed is that there is a tremendous interest in parent child programs in Truckee. One of the most successful programs we have [at TDRPD] is a parent/child program.”

That program, Mommy and Me, helps mothers prepare their children for preschool.

“Truckee is a very active community, and that carries over to the kids,” O’Gorman added.

O’Gorman said the program tries to create positive experiences that will encourage kids to continue participating in sports.

“The program stresses safety and using safe equipment, like nerf balls, so if a kid gets hit with the ball, it doesn’t hurt,” O’Gorman said.

Start Smart will run on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to noon.

It starts Jan. 10 and runs through Feb. 14.

However, the first meeting is an orientation for parents only.

The cost of the six-week program is $60.

For more information contact TDRPD at 582-7720, or stop by their office at 10046 Church St. in Truckee.