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SYA: Get Involved in Youth Sports

August 6, 2002

<bt>One of the many goals of the Southwestern Youth Association (SYA) is to provide youth with healthy and educational leisure activities.

Through participation in the SYA program — founded in November 1973 — children living in southwestern Fairfax County learn sportsmanship, leadership and team skills that will last a lifetime.

The organization has grown enormously from one with just 350 participants during its first year of operation in 1974 to one which in the year 2000 had approximately 15,000 participants.

Baseball, T-ball, basketball, cheerleading, football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, wrestling, rugby and volleyball are offered.

Led by President George Chernesky, the SYA has made acquiring and maintaining fields/facilities one of its main priorities. In 1995, the SYA began adopting school fields in order to improve conditions for athletics, as well as provide a safe environment for youth participating in field sports.

An athletic field next to Centreville High School was created with the help of Virginia National Guard and local developer Jack Hazel. The SYA also acquired fields at Popes Head Park and Willow Springs Elementary School.

The SYA recently purchased 120 acres in Centreville to build a "Field of Dreams" sports complex. It will be situated near the Fairfax National Golf Course on the north side of Route 29 west, off Bull Run Post Office Road and will include 10 playing fields for all popular youth sports.

But just as important as fields is the SYA's dedicated group of 300-500 parents and volunteers who serve numerous hours coaching, refereeing, maintaining fields and equipment, and simply spending time with the youth.

Still, the SYA is always on the look-out for additional help. Volunteers can have considerable impact on the children they work with, whether they are giving kicking pointers to soccer players or handing out orange slices during halftime.

For those who do not have the time to volunteer, donations are always appreciated. Contributions help the SYA purchase new athletic fields and equipment and also support fund-raisers held by the children. Donations may be mailed, in check form, to SYA, P.O. Box 471, Centreville, VA 20122.

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Southwestern Youth Association

Address: 5950 Centreville Crest Lane, Centreville VA 20121

Phone office: 703-815-3362

Phone fax: 703-815-9278

Hot line: 703-815-2180

Web site: www.syasports.org

E-mail: syaboard@erols.com