In Kingston, young athletes have a place to call home

KINGSTON — Young athletes living in the Kingston area will have a place to call home starting this month.

The Kingston Youth Sports Association is accepting registration for Pee Wee football and cheerleading. It’s a long-time coming for Matt Berger, the association president, who has been developing the sports program for years.

“It’s all about opportunities for our youth,” Berger said.

A meet-and-greet is scheduled for July 27, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Village Green picnic pavilion. There will be free hot dogs for attendees. The public has an opportunity to meet coaches, and prospective coaches, and learn more about the association.

The association, a nonprofit, joined the Kitsap Peninsula Adult Pee Wee Association in early June. The Pee Wee association consists of clubs from Chico, North Kitsap, North Mason, North Perry, Silverdale, South Kitsap, Tracyton, and Warren Avenue. The Pee Wee association’s focus is on helping youth develop into “future citizens” in front of attaining skill and winning games.

The Kingston association’s teams will compete with other member associations within the Pee Wee association.

The Kingston association is for children ages 7 to 13. Registration for football and cheerleading is being accepted. Football conditioning begins Aug. 5. Residents of Hansville, Indianola, Kingston and Little Boston can register.

About $25,000 has been raised so far to get the association off and running. A large chunk of the money raised is going to football, which has high insurance and equipment costs.

Before the Kingston association started, those interested in Pee Wee sports played with North Kitsap. With the recent adjustments to boundaries within the North Kitsap School District, Berger said the Kingston Youth Sports Association will serve the north end well.

The hope is Kingston athletic programs will feed into one another — Pee Wee will prepare youth for middle school sports, which will prepare athletes for high school sports. The Pee Wee teams will have the same uniform colors as Kingston High School: maroon and gold.

The association will include basketball and wrestling. The Kingston Big Dawgs wrestling program will be the wrestling branch of the association. However, Berger believes any activity of interest could potentially be added to the association’s activities. Volleyball could be added next year. Ultimately, the only thing that limits what the association offers Kingston youth is what they show an interest in.

Berger and Mike Lash were the founders of the association. Dan Novick, former head football coach at Kingston High School, helped write bylaws, Berger said. The Big Dawgs wrestling program, formed and run by the Reece family, is the reason the association has a wrestling program, Berger said.

Berger has seen “a lot of civic pride” with Kingston athletics, he said. Take high school football games, for example: Kingston residents without children at the high school attend games. It’s another reason why he feels the association will gain support.

Starting the association took more effort than he thought, but “It was well worth it,” he said.

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