St. John kids from age two to 18 are invited to come out and play a variety of sports at the first annual Just Play day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Winston Wells Ballfield in Cruz Bay.
The free event is organized by Using Sport For Social Change in conjunction with the St. John Community Foundation, the V.I. Housing, Parks and Recreation Department and Nike.
According to a press release, the goal is to introduce the island’s youth to various team and individual sports that may be new to them.
The event will consist of sports stations which each participant will complete in order to compete with other youths their own age for prizes. The atmosphere will be friendly, fun and competitive.
Activities include a flag football game, a 50-yard dash, tug-of-war, an obstacle course, soccer, kickball, a football throw, and other activities.
Children ages two to five must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to participate in age-appropriate games.
Prizes will be donated by Nike. Community Foundation Director Paul Devine said they include Nike shirts, shoes, shorts, and athletic balls.
"And everybody gets a medal," he said.
The Just Play sports day includes an appearance by Julian Jackson, a three-time middleweight and junior middleweight world champion who hails from St. Thomas.
Additionally, the Love City Pan Dragons, The Love City Leapers, DJ Percy, and others will entertain. St. John resident Brenda Wallace will moderate the event.
The event also includes lunch, drinks and snacks for all participants and volunteers.
The number of participants is limited to the first 130 who register.
Volunteers are still needed for this event. No athletic skills are required. All volunteers must be over age 17 unless personally vouched for by a parent or teacher. Devine said some teens may not want to play games even though they’re still age-eligible. Instead, if their parent or guardian indicates they are responsible and have sport skills, they may serve as volunteers.
Pre-registration for all participants and volunteers is at the Parks and Recreation office in Cruz Bay, the St. John Community Foundation office at the Marketplace shopping center and at www.usingsportforsocialchange.com.
Using Sport for Social Change is a St. John-based initiative spearheaded by Dean Doeling, a senior design production artist with Nike and a frequent visitor to St. John. The organization’s primary purpose is to support local sporting programs that are already in place, with fundraising, community education and sporting equipment donated by Nike. It is also trying to resurrect some failed sport programs and provide play days where kids from across the island come together to participate in sports-based games and skill challenges.
For more information, visit www.usingsportforsocialchange.com. Additionally, call the St. John Community Foundation at 693-9410 or the Housing, Parks and Recreation Department at 776-6531.