COLORADO SPRINGS — Sports provide the ability for kids to learn several life skills on and off the field. But the cost of sports can prevent some children from playing the game. However, thanks to a big grant, Colorado Springs will be able to provide youth sports for thousands of local kids.
Known as the Gamechanger Program, this all started as a pilot program in 2021, waiving registration fees for ages Pre-K through 2nd grade. And after much success, it’s back again, and this time benefiting even more children.
Up to 3,000 children will have their sign-up fees waived thanks to large grants from the Daniels Fund and the Dakota Foundation, along with additional funding from other local groups including Children’s Hospital Colorado. Those donating the funds say making sports more accessible to youth will have lasting benefits.
“We know about obesity, diabetes but on the behavioral health side of things, the resilience, the life skills, the coping mechanisms, dealing with failure that youth sports can provide really can be a differentiator for these kids and their families,” said Greg Raymond, president of Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“The impact on the community from free sports or access to free youth sports is going to be significant for a couple of reasons. One, it provides an opportunity for an outlet, whether it’s a physical outlet to manage stress, to manage depression, it also allows these kids to have a role model.”
More than $339,000 has been raised for Gamechanger. The money will waive registration fees for Pre-K through 4th-grade kids to play soccer, t-ball, baseball, and softball. This will be placed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is open to everyone.
The program will be available until at least 2026. For more information and to register your child, visit the City of Colorado Springs Youth Sports website.