BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB 'GETS GAME'

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Youth teams network with pro, college teams under the guidance of Teen Center and Athletics Director Tracy Aaron

The Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County has announced that Tracy Aaron has accepted the position of Teen Center and Athletic Director on a permanent basis. Aaron has been involved at the club for the past few years, originally as a volunteer , and then as a part time staff person.
   Aaron said that her new responsibilities with the club are varied, but the focus of her work is simple .
   "First and foremost is child safety at all times when participating in club events," she said. "I will also be responsible for the development and implementation of procedures and rules for each sport. And I will be developing and implementing relationships with sponsors, colleges and other leagues."
   Recently, Aaron has been focused on activities for the young people that participate in the club's after school program. She has also become the point person for the club's athletic outreach and networking efforts.
   "I hope to build the relationships between the middle and high school level athletic and music programs, so that when the younger kids that are involved in our programs reach the more competitive levels, they are ready," she said.
   One of Aaron's recent attempts at reaching out produced unexpected results, with an invitation for club members to attend a women's softball game at the University of Oregon (U of O).
   Aaron first approached the softball team inquiring about opportunities to network, and she was pleasantly surprised by the response.
   "A few weeks ago, I emailed a contact at U of O softball and asked if they had any special programs or anything else they could do for the team," Aaron said.
   The university responded by inviting Aaron and the club's softball team to campus to attend a softball game free of charge and to meet the team.
   "We took a group of 26 of our softball girls and some of their families to the U of O softball game versus Idaho. It was a great game and the Ducks won it in the fifth inning with a two-run home run," Aaron said. "After the game, we took the kids down to the field to meet the team and take some pictures. One of our club kids even got to go to the announcers booth and call the line up for the fourth inning."
   Aaron said she feels the trip was even more meaningful than the fun the team had during the day.
   "I explained how important I thought it was for our players to see what hard work and dedication could do for them. The whole ride home, I heard nothing but the girls talking about how much fun they had and how cool the players were," said Aaron. "Most importantly, I heard them all talk about how excited they were to play softball , and several of them want to keep playing beyond high school. They got the opportunity to see strong females succeeding at their passion and it was amazing."
   Aaron is also responsible for the club's partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers, which provided basketball jerseys, instruction for coaches and tickets for participants in the club's basketball program, to attend a Blazer game in person.
   Aaron said she is excited by the response from the Blazer organization to her outreach efforts and the club is looking forward to the upcoming trip to Portland.
   "Our Rip City Basketball season will be closing up with a trip to a Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets. Before the game, during the National Anthem, 13 very lucky BGC players and referees will walk with and stand next to the team on the court at the Moda Center," she said.
   That game will be on Tuesday, March 28.
   For more information on the activities at the Boys and Girl's Club call 541-902-0304 .


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