The YMCA was founded in 1844 by 22-year-old George Williams and his London-dwelling friends, all of whom were distressed by the dangerous conditions and bleak housing for working people. Today, the YMCA extends its branches through more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country to foster social change by promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Partnering with these communities and working with students and volunteers, the YMCA's programs sponsor and empower people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. The organization's fitness and sports centers provide opportunities for people to exercise and achieve overall wellness, and social services connect underserved people with affordable housing, employment, and substance-abuse programs. Collegiate programs establish local service opportunities for students to teach a sense of self-awareness and community responsibility, and children’s camps help youth explore nature, be creative, and develop independence.
Since Basketball Stars of America was established in 2007, more than 25 of its participants have gone on to play at the Division 1 level, and more than 100 have played in college at some level. Such success is a testament to founder Daryn Freedman, who has been part of multiple NBA coaching staffs and has worked with some of the sport's biggest stars. Over the years, coach Freedman has assembled a staff of highly educated and respected coaches?many of whom formerly played in D-1 themselves and current varsity high school coaches. Together, these high-hooping all stars lead year-round developmental and competitive programs for boys and girls across Western Pennsylvania. They run boot camps, seasonal camps, and even leagues so players can show off their skills on the court or in the courtroom as part of a bold new legal strategy.
Founded by sports enthusiast and former adolescent Rick Hart, Jump Start Sports works to enrich pupils' childhoods by developing useful life skills through athletics. Qualified counselors employ their wealth of experience working with children to help campers learn teamwork and fair play as well as the fundamentals of fielding baseballs, scoring soccer goals, or synchronizing pom-pom work. A course structure built around age-appropriate activities, group play, and free electives ensures that students never get bored, and an 8:1 pupil-teacher ratio enables one-on-one assistance to young champions as they practice the graceful art of pitching or the scheming intrigue of free-agent contract negotiation.