Like its academics, the School of the Osage wants to have the best athletic teams possible. Part of that objective is the school's support of a four-year-old organization dedicated to providing a safe, productive and enjoyable experience in intramural sports.
The Osage Youth Athletics Council was formed in 2009 as a not-for-profit organization after a handful of fledgling youth sports programs fizzled.
"There was an opportunity to involve kids in intramural sports, and several parents believed there was a need to do something to get kids involved in activities at an early age," OYAC spokesman Mike Ruck told the Osage Board of Education Tuesday night.
"OYAC is a very giving organization that supports our district," Superintendent Brent Depeé said. "We're thankful for what they do."
Ruck said OYAC involves a lot of volunteer parents and coaches, and applauded the way the Osage community has stepped up to support not only OYAC but also Osage athletics.
"We focus on the dynamics of the game," he explained, "not only on winning. Winning and losing build character and prepare students for their real world experiences. This is an opportunity to learn at a specific level about specific sports."
A group of parents went to the board of education in 2009 with a plan to develop a K-6 intramural sports program for students, including some seventh and eighth grade students. It initially involved baseball, volleyball and flag football. Today, programs include baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, football, golf, soccer, wrestling and volleyball.
"This is a program developed and run by parents," he explained.
The majority of the Council members have been involved in youth sports for many years as coaches, board members, and league directors. Based on past experiences, OYAC strives to improve the quality of its offerings season after season.
"We're looking to develop sustainability through a procedures manual and a transition plan for coaches," Ruck said. Consistency from year to year, and working with Osage coaches, is key to continuing the program, Ruck said.
"We involve interested coaches to help the OYAC program be in synch with Osage coaches," he said. "And we want to make it affordable by charging $25-$30 per sport, and we want to make sure that every kid who wants to play gets to play."
OYAC provides insurance and coordinates the use of facilities and coaches. It maintains all of its athletic programs including uniforms and equipment through registration fees.
"We bought insurance for a thousand kids last year," Ruck said.
Ruck stressed the cooperation between OYAC and the School of the Osage as one of the reasons the program has been successful.
For more information, contact OYAC Director Rod Miller at 573-365-7363.
What is the mission of OYAC?
Page 2 of 2 - The Osage Youth Athletic Council strives to teach, develop and promote various youth sports for School of the Osage boys and girls.
What is the focus for recreational sports?
The focus of recreational sports is to learn to play the game(s) while having fun. You will learn the rules as well as the skills pertaining to the game(s) with playing time equally distributed among the players.
How does OYAC operate?
The OYAC Executive Board of Directors consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and League Directors for each area of sports activity. OYAC directors and coaches are all volunteers, and typically are parents of students attending the School of the Osage.
OYAC coaches are required to complete and pass a background check.
OYAC Board of Directors typically meet the first Wednesday of each month and is open to all members.
OYAC is a self-supporting organization, reliant upon player registration fees and sponsorships.
What (if any) time commitment is expected from the parents?
There may be certain times where the coach will ask for parents to help with snacks, calling players to notify them of practices and games, etc.
How do I become a coach, referee or volunteer for an athletic activity offered by OYAC?
Contact the League Director for the specified activity for further information.
Their numbers are located on the webpage, www.osageyouthsports.com