Rochester Area Community Foundation is awarding a $25,000 grant to support four youth sports and coaching initiatives organized by Yates Cultural Recreational Resources, Inc.

The grant is one of 20 — and a total of $324,650 — awarded this year by the Community Foundation’s Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports.

The four components of the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Coaches” project will be offered at the Yates Community Center and a local dance studio starting this month and continuing through April 2020. These components are:

• Multi-Sport Sampler Series: Fourteen different sports samples will be offered in combinations of two at a time — soccer, lacrosse, softball, baseball, football, hiking, gymnastics, cheerleading, Pilates, and Zumba — and to two age groups, ages 4-7 and 8- 12. Sports will be offered in small settings and groups with experienced athletes mentoring younger athletes. Three local nutritionists will present a Nutrition for Athletes segment and hands-on preparation of a healthy snack. Along with the sports samplers, lacrosse and soccer goalie clinics will be offered to allow children to try these specific positions. Participants will be surveyed after each session.

• Youth Athlete Committee: Once formed, this group of athletes will survey their peers to help inform development of future youth sports programming. Leadership from local sports organizations will assist in this effort.

• A Lead Coordinating Organization: Create or develop a lead organization to serve as the “hub” for online sports management of multi-league registrations, communications, fundraising efforts, and field and facility scheduling. Currently, each organization operates its own website or social media accounts for purposes of communicating or registration.

For those who do not have access to the Internet, two computers at the community center will provide access to information about registrations and leagues.

• Coach Training: Twice a year, the 100 volunteer coaches involved in youth sports will be able to receive training on three essential areas: positive coaching philosophy; coaching fundamentals; and injury prevention. Courses will include concussion protocol, First Aid and safety.

This grant and other youth sports and recreation grants are made possible by a $5 million endowed fund established at Rochester Area Community Foundation in 2016 by the Ralph C.

Wilson, Jr. Foundation, named for the late owner of the Buffalo Bills football franchise. The Legacy Fund for Youth Sports provides annual and ongoing grants to support and strengthen the quality, quantity and accessibility of youth sports and recreation programs in the Greater Rochester region.

The basis for these grants is findings from the “State of Play: Greater Rochester & The Finger Lakes” report released in 2017. Recommendations for focus areas included the need to make time for less-structured free play, exposing youth to a variety of sports, supporting community- based options, and the importance of better training coaches.

“Prior to the ‘State of Play’ study coming out, we knew the youth in Yates County lacked access to physical activity and recreation in terms of facilities, resources, variety, and a lead organization to facilitate it all. This project initiates a highly collaborative effort to begin to address these highly concerning issues,” says Katie Peterson, president of the Yates Cultural Recreational Resources, Inc.

Rochester Area Community Foundation works to improve the quality of life for people who live in the eight-county region through its leadership and strategic grantmaking. Known as the steward of charitable funds and endowments, the Community Foundation connects donors with the region’s current and evolving needs. For more, visit www.racf.org.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name.