A bright light in our community

Published 10:42 pm Friday, October 26, 2018

There’s a brighter future for young athletes at Suffolk Youth Athletic Association who will benefit from a new lighting setup donated by a number of local organizations.

The new lighting on a soccer field on Kings Fork Road will help extend practice and game times available, helping young athletes get in more skill practice and conditioning.

The project included four 70-foot galvanized steel poles and 28 1,500-watt metal halide luminaries. That kind of lighting power isn’t cheap, and the project cost $160,260 altogether.

Email newsletter signup

Fortunately, the community stepped up to help provide the money. The Birdsong Trust, Suffolk Foundation, Farmers Bank, Beasley Foundation, Suffolk Rotary club, Duke Automotive and other groups all chipped in to help make it happen.

SYAA serves more than 1,800 young people in Suffolk with more than 25,000 volunteer hours. It’s one of the largest privately-operated youth sports organizations in Virginia.

Youth sports have so many benefits for young people that it’s hard to find a reason not to support them. Helping to prevent childhood obesity and an active lifestyle is just the beginning. Youth sports also develop character, teamwork, resiliency, dedication, sportsmanship and many other characteristics that will serve these young athletes well later in high school, college and their careers, community service and family life.

Ohio University also says that youth sports improve mental health and test scores. Participation in youth and school sports is associated with postsecondary education, earning a bachelor’s degree and higher income, the university stated in a study.

Organizations like SYAA are helping provide this opportunity for many young people in our community, and we are pleased about the recent lighting project. It was a true community effort with the contribution of so many different organizations, and we are proud of all those who contributed to make the place where many of these young people play safer and more welcoming.