A GOOD SPORTS COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2005
For a town of just 25,000, Brunswick owns a lot of bragging rights. It's the home of a Naval Air Station and Bowdoin College, an elite liberal arts school whose alumni include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Olympic gold medal marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson. The town's diversity is evident in the fact that it has been repeatedly chosen one of the best places in the country, while also being one of the most progressive places for kids to play sports. More than 6,000 do each year. "Brunswick is unique in the way that all parts of the community are coming together to make sure that every child's experience is a great one," says Jeff Ward, chairman of the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department Commission (and Bowdoin's athletic director).
The town's gained momentum from the Brunswick Youth Sports Council, a group that includes representatives from area youth sports organizations, parks and rec staff and local schools' athletic departments. "We're looking at how we can create a global code of ethics for all the organizations," says Steve Balboni, deputy director of the parks and rec department. "We want coaches, parents and players to have the same expectations no matter what sport they're in."
Partnerships with local businesses provide resources, and Bowdoin plays a major role as well. In October the college hosted the Youth Sports Festival, in which children participated in a fun run, then tried different sports with the help of more than 50 Bowdoin athletes.
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