July 18th, 2002
ACS Commissioner William C. Bell Applauds 3,000 Young Athletes at the 19th Annual School Age Games
Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner William C. Bell opened the 2002 School Age Games for approximately 3,000 young athletes this afternoon at Riverbank State Park. Formatted after the Olympic Games, the event drew children ages six through 12 who trained throughout the recent school year, as well as parents, teachers and ACS staff who cheered them on and coordinated the day’s events. ACS’s Agency for Child Development and Head Start organized the year-long program and the event to provide children with a safe place to socialize after school as well as to develop their athletic skills and learn the importance of sportsmanship.
“You’ll have to compete hard against others and sometimes even against yourself just to keep believing in yourself and your dreams,” said Commissioner Bell. “But whatever you do, don’t ever give up. Not on the field today, and not in life.”
Children participated in a variety of competitions, including track and field, soccer, cheerleading, double-dutch, volleyball and basketball. First, second and third place ribbons were awarded and all children received white ribbons for participation.
In an opening ceremony, Commissioner Bell presented a Mayoral Proclamation recognizing the 19th Annual School Age Games. The games were kicked off with the reading of an Olympic Creed. Employee volunteers from ACS, the Board of Education, FDNY and other city agencies also passed a baton to reach the starting line to begin the final competitions.
The goal of the School Age Games is the peaceful, non-violent, and competitive demonstration of children’s athletic skills. The games provide an alternative to violent and anti-social behavior. Started in 1984, the event has evolved over the years into an annual day that both parents and children enjoy.
Under the program, throughout the school year, children received instruction in motor skills, mathematical projection, nutrition, mental concentration, athletic history, goal setting, determination, perseverance and socializing. The skills were incorporated as the groundwork was set for participants to learn about the sports in which they would compete. After months of preparation and practice, these children had the opportunity to show what they learned at today’s celebration of youth, cooperation and sportsmanship.
The New York City Administration for Children’s Services protects and ensures the safety and well being of New York City’s children and their families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoptive parenting, child support enforcement, child care and Head Start.