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Rick Gould: Youth sports festival celebrates healthy kids

Posted: August 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Youth sports and recreation have become synonymous with Santa Clarita, which is no accident. The value the City Council places on supporting a healthy lifestyle is something experts across the United States believe results in a positive impact not only for our children, but for society as a whole. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that regular physical activity helps children maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of depression and promotes better sleep, which lead to a happier and healthier adult lifestyle.

In addition to the numerous personal and social benefits, physical activity builds character among our youth. Whether it is on the field, in the classroom or in a professional setting, physical fitness helps young people develop into strong, independent and healthy adults.

With this in mind, and a strong commitment by the City Council to support a healthy community, the city of Santa Clarita will host the fourth annual Celebrating YOUth Sports Festival on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex.

Due to the event’s popularity and growth over the years, this year’s event will be hosted at a larger venue. The Santa Clarita Sports Complex is home to our aquatic center, gymnasium, activities center, skate park, outdoor basketball, sand volleyball and racquetball courts.

With more than enough room to accommodate numerous games, the festival will be divided into activity zones consisting of more than 20 recreational activities for participants to enjoy including tennis, golf, football, hockey, sand volleyball, baseball, rock climbing, interactive fitness equipment, trampoline jump and much more.

Due to the sheer size of the Sports Complex, water sports will now be a featured activity, including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and fun water games like “dunk the lifeguard.” The Santa Clarita Skate Park will also be open for skate enthusiasts to watch professional and amateur athletes attempting extreme tricks.

In addition to the recreational activities, live performances from local gymnasts, cheerleaders, dance teams, and martial art demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Many regional sports teams have also signed up to join in the fun and support the YOUth Sports Festival, including the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lancaster JetHawks, L.A. Galaxy and the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions the Los Angeles Kings.

A raffle will give participants a chance to win prizes including amusement park tickets, restaurant gift cards and professional sports memorabilia. All the proceeds from the raffle will benefit the city’s Supporting Children’s Opportunities in Recreational Events program, which provides assistance with recreation scholarships for underprivileged youth.

The Celebrating YOUth Sports Festival plays a vital role in enriching the lives of youth by encouraging them to get plenty of exercise and inspiring the community to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle. The Festival raises awareness about the benefits of physical activity, and it celebrates all local youth sports participants, their achievements, those interested in participating in youth sports, and an overall commitment to enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

If you haven’t been to this event, I hope you will join us. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy a free, family oriented afternoon that provides a supportive environment for children to experience a variety of recreational activities offered by the city.

For more information about the Celebrating YOUth Sports Festival, please visit

— Rick Gould is the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services and can be reached at:


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