Tag Archive | "southampton youth services"

Little League Evaluations at SYS This Weekend

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By Benito Vila

Ah, Little League: that rite of spring that makes some incredibly happy and others wildly apprehensive. The Sag Harbor Bridgehampton Little League is conducting its “evaluations” of its softball and baseball players ages 9-to-12 this Sunday at SYS on Majors Path in Southampton. Softball players are expected at noon and baseball players at 1:30 p.m.

Players at those ages must be present for those evaluations to be eligible for the draft pools for their sport. The evaluations involve the players running, throwing, hitting and fielding grounders and pop-ups.

For the fourth consecutive year, coaches from All-Pro Sports Academy in Bellport, who run a late-August baseball camp in Mashashimuet Park, will be notating the results. These player evaluations, long ago referred to as “tryouts,” help the chapter board determine how to best organize each sport’s divisions and allow the managers to create evenly skilled teams.

The board plans to meet on Tuesday to review the results and player drafts are set for next Saturday, with majors and AAA teams beginning practice the following week. “Regular season” games, which may include match-ups with Southampton teams, are expected to start the last week of April.

Sunday is the last day to submit completed registration forms for the majors and AAA (9-to-12 year old) divisions. Registrations for the other divisions (minors, for players 7-and-up and T-ball, for players 5-and-up) will also be accepted Sunday at SYS. Any registration in those younger divisions submitted after Sunday will incur a $20 late fee.

Registration materials are available online at sagharborlittleleague.org.


Winter Away at SYS

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With winter not letting up anytime soon and a school vacation a week away, Southampton Youth Services has put together several family and student-oriented programs at its recreation center on Majors Path.

Tomorrow, SYS and the Southampton Town Youth Bureau are hosting a Sports and Recreation Night for Middle and High School students from 7 to 10 p.m. Next Friday, the younger set is served with a “Parents Night Out” being offered from 6 to 9 p.m.; for $10, parents can drop off potty-trained children 4 to 12 years of age for a evening of games and activities.

SYS is also offering a Winter Break Camp February 16 to 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a $45 daily fee per camper or a $200 weekly fee per camper. Children are asked to bring lunch and play clothes and be ready for games, sports, art and crafts.The annual Supervisors Cup, an indoor soccer tournament for Long Island high schools is set for February 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information on these and other youth programs at SYS, contact Joy Pariz at 287-1151 or visit sysinc.org.

Karate Kids Get Black Belts

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Almost four years ago, at the ages of 7 and 5, local Sag Harbor kids Max and Harrison Yardley took their first karate class. What started out as a hobby has become a passion for the Yardley boys; and in a world where children have grown up in a society that values immediate satisfaction, their level of dedication to their sport is a rarity.

On Saturday, January 10, Max and Harrison, now 12 and 10 respectively, were rewarded for their years of hard work when they both earned black belt certification during a ceremony at the Southampton Town Recreation Center along with seven other East End children and two adults. Upon receiving their black belts, the boys, who began with SYS when the karate program started, were recognized for learning the basic technique of the Shotokan karate style. However, this is only the first step to become a Sensei, or karate teacher, says the boys’ Sensei, Helene Ely.

The black belt tied snugly around their waists represented the five years they worked with Ely at SYS to perfect their technique, the hours spent at karate seminars, and all of the time their parents have spent helping them reach this goal.

Ely believes her teaching style and theory helped the kids return to the class year after year.

“When children feel they are learning something you retain their interest,” she said. Ely teaches her students about biomechanics, and claims this deepens their practice of karate and boosts their confidence. Her methods seem to be working. All of the advanced level students, including Max and Harrison, attend class three times a week. Ely said the students who earned black belts showed up at every single class over the years, except when they were ill.

Sticking to a rigid karate schedule was challenging for Harrison, but ultimately worth the effort. 

“You have all of these opportunities to go to other places, and it took a lot to blow them off and go to karate,” he said.

Ely’s Sensei, Armondo Kemmott, traveled to SYS from California to administer the black belt tests. Kemmott, a seventh degree black belt, is the national director of the International Traditional Karate Institute. He also holds Karate seminars at SYS a couple of times a year. As part of the test, the children wrote an essay detailing why they studied karate, what they had learned from Ely, and how Kemmott had inspired their practice. They were also tested on the history of Shotokan and performed 13 Katas — a Kata is a combination of moves.

Passing the black belt certification, however, is just the first step in their black belt training.

“Shodon is the first degree of black belt and it means the beginning,” said Ely. “Once you are a black belt you have mastered the basics then the real study of the black belt begins.”

Max said that he looks forward to learning more advanced moves, and becoming closer to his goal of teaching karate.

Both boys believe that their diligence to Shotokan has changed who they are for the better.

“It taught me how to push myself,” said Max, “and stick with something.”


Above: Harrison Yardley excitedly anticipates his black belt. 


SYS hires new Squash director

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Some people associate this time of year with football and betting which team may end up in the Superbowl, but in many parts of the world there are other sports that gain more national attention. According to Sayed Selim, squash is one sport that is beginning to get more popular in the U.S.,
Selim, an Egyptian world-class squash coach, is the new director of Squash at Southampton Youth Services’ (SYS) Elmaleh Stanton Squash Facility. Selim came to Southampton in March after applying for the full time position, which SYS posted online.
SYS board member and head of the squash program, Wally Glennon, said that Selim was chosen for the position because of his overwhelming enthusiasm of the sport.
But asking Selim to take the position would require him to relocate from Berlin, Germany where he had been living for nearly two decades. It would also mean hurdling a slight language barrier but Glennon said that Selim was definitely up to the challenge.
“It’s been a fascinating process for all of us,” said Glennon. “He was the missing element in our facility. We searched the top champion players, but Selim had high hopes and high expectations and his motivation is remarkable.”
“The most gratifying thing is how the local community has embraced the game,” Glennon said.
Though he’s been in Europe for many years, Selim said he immediately felt at home when he arrived in Southampton.
“I lived in Germany for 18 years and never felt at home. I was here for nine days and feel truly at home,” Selim said on Friday, “I have this feeling I will die here, I love this place.”
Selim began playing squash in his native Egypt at the age of six, and has worked with some of the top players in Egypt and Germany.
“I used to play very well,” Selim said. “I’ve been coaching now for over 20 years.”
Now, at the age of 43, he hopes to teach and train others to better their skills at the game.
“It’s more than a game. It’s fitness and it’s fun,” said Selim, explaining that the game is played in a court using four walls. “It becomes very challenging because you have people behind, in front and on the side of you.”
Selim has trained various national professional squash players and finds that the sport is gaining popularity in America. Selim’s ultimate dream is to get squash into the local schools. He has already managed to get many of the local community members to join in clinics, which he teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He said he held a competition where 13 women competed against each other and he was able to determine a rating for them, so they would be able to see who their best competitor would be. Selim says that people of all ages are welcome to play and has found that an increasing number of young people have been embracing the sport.
“If we get the kids we get the parents – the kids are the future,” he said. “The game is improving more and more — and is becoming more popular in America.”
The professional squash playoffs will be played January 23 to 29 in New York City’s Central Station Terminal where the best male players compete for the $115,000 grand prize. It’s the largest squash spectator event in the world. Last year, Bear Sterns sponsored the event, but in response to recent economic events, JP Morgan has acquired Bear Sterns and is now the title sponsor. J.P. Morgan has increased the prize money by 50 percent for this year’s tournament.