In an attempt to bring back good sportsmanship to youth sports and provide the two greatest benefits -- good character and respect -- the Salina Area Youth Sportsmanship
Initiative (SAYSI) was formed in November of 2001.
SAYSI has been organized to promote comprehensive sportsmanship programs for all youth sports in the community. In conjunction with local youth sports providers, continuing education will be provided for parents, coaches, officials, and all youth participants.
The overall objective of SAYSI is to show how important sportsmanship is at the youth sports level and to make it contagious enough to have a positive impact on all community activities. The motto is "All for the Kids".
During the year, SAYSI offers a number of activities for youth, emphasizing that youth sports should be FUN. Kids on the winning teams for all Sportsmanship Awards receive a patch to wear on their shirts.
The annual Take Me Out to the Ballpark is held in May at the ECRA Complex. This is a kick-off event for the spring and summer youth baseball and softball season. Skill games, participation prizes, door prizes, free hot dogs, and drinks are enjoyed by all who attend.
A big part of this event is the Kansas City Royals baseball clinic. Additionally, Matt Williams, Kansas Wesleyan University AD, and players offer a softball clinic for parents, coaches, and players. Again, the theme is to have FUN while participating in youth sports.
A very important aspect of the organization is the education of parents, officials, and coaches that attend clinics for certification. These clinics are offered for all the different sports throughout the year.
In 2003, the Start Smart Program was incorporated into the SAYSI project. Start Smart is for boys and girls ages 4-6 participating with their parents in teaching the basic skills of a sport with emphasis on how to develop good sportsmanship. It is a 4-star program offering basketball, baseball, soccer, and football.
The SAYSI staff is available to speak to any community or civic group that would be interested in hearing more about the program.
As part of the mission, SAYSI works for the community and encourages anyone with questions or suggestions to contact SAYSI at the Salina Parks and Recreation Department at (785) 309-5765.