At present, Charm City Youth Lacrosse League is the only league of its kind in Baltimore City. Our goal is to build a full scale league modeled after the best leagues in the Baltimore area by starting with our youngest players and getting kids involved in structured athletics before they are pulled into less positive activities. Though formed only recently, the League already has garnered positive recognition from the Baltimore Sun, the Daily Record, and national lacrosse publications, as well as many local community organizations.
In 2009, working with several community recreation centers, the League enrolled 86 youths from some of Baltimore’s most blighted and overlooked neighborhoods including Harlem Park and Poppleton, to participate in basic clinical lacrosse instruction.
In 2010, we expanded the League’s reach into the communities of Liberty Heights, Morrell Park, Heritage Crossing, Violetville and Bentalou and we added competitive team play into the program. With the increased level of competition we also selected an “All Star” team to participate in Warrior’s Lax Splash Youth Lacrosse Tournament. The team was made up of standout players from each of the league’s six teams the Cordish Blue Jays, Verizon Circuits, Warren Brown Bombers, DLA Piper Cubs, Wachovia Warriors, and Comcast Comets.
The League typically meets every Saturday for eight weeks in the spring and early summer. The children, ranging in age from six to ten, participate in clinical instruction. Additionally, participants are organized into several teams.
The coaches provide instruction in both lacrosse skills and team theory, offering carefully planned drills and team-building activities. After the clinical portion of the day is completed, children participating in teams will then utilize the skills they have just learned as they compete in actual league play; each team engaging over the course of the league season in round-robin style play. At the end of the season, select players from each team will be enrolled as a team in Warrior’s Lax Splash Youth Lacrosse Tournament.
During our first two seasons, each team was assigned a coaching staff of former players or current high school coaches and several of the best local high school lacrosse players. The schools and their student-athletes were so enthusiastic about the program that next season we are building a team to school network in which area schools work with one assigned team for the entire season. Each school will provide coaches from their staff and assistant coaches who are student-athletes from their program.
In addition to the lacrosse instruction and competitive play, each week a selected speaker, many of whom grew up in the very same communities and neighborhoods as the children, come to speak to the children and engage the students on the importance of education, civic responsibility, and community involvement. Throughout the League’s two seasons, the children heard from political figures such as Congressman Elijah Cummings and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, as well as various Baltimore-area business and community leaders.
Encouraged by the positive message of the League, more area leaders have offered their time in speaking to the children, sponsoring teams, serving as coaches, and more for the 2011 season. By providing the children with this real and visceral connection to some of Baltimore City’s greatest success stories, the League hopes to instill in the children the values of perseverance, teamwork, and leadership.