Wu launches central online youth sports directory

Special to the Times-Free Press

Mayor Michelle Wu announced the debut of the City of Boston’s first online Youth Sports Hub, including a central, online directory of youth sports organizations across the city. This new resource empowers families to find accessible sports opportunities in their neighborhoods and serves as a one-stop-shop to learn about youth sports offerings and resources the city offers to sports providers. Creating easier access to athletic opportunities is a part of Mayor Wu’s Connect, Learn, Explore, her initiative to ensure Boston’s youth are empowered to find and pursue their passions. Mayor Wu also announced the City’s first Youth Sports Initiative Manager and an investment of $100,000 in mini-grant funding to support neighborhood sports leagues. These initiatives aim to support the goals of the Mayor’s Youth Sports Initiative strategic vision and making Boston a home for everyone.

“The Mayor’s Youth Sports Initiative is about making youth sports accessible and inclusive for all our city’s families,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This initiative is not just about increasing participation, but also about breaking down barriers and ensuring that every young person in Boston has the opportunity to engage in sports. With the Youth Sports Hub and our dedicated Youth Sports Initiative Manager, we are taking significant steps to make this vision a reality.”

While Massachusetts is a leading state for youth sports participation, Boston’s high school student involvement (34%) lags significantly behind the state average for youth aged 6-17 (63%). Throughout 2023, the Mayor’s Office and the Human Services Cabinet engaged with internal and external partners to assess the city’s youth sports ecosystem and develop strategies for a comprehensive youth sports initiative that can decrease this participation gap and build community across neighborhoods. With the Youth Sports Hub live, the goal is to make it easier for more families and children to get involved with sports. These announcements align with the City’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive youth sports community.

“This hub will centralize key information for families, making it easier than ever to find and participate in youth sports programs,” said José F. Massó, Chief of Human Services. “We are committed to creating a seamless experience for families and providers alike.”

The Youth Sports Hub will serve as the new landing page for Parks and Recreation and BCYF sports programs, showcasing highlights from the city’s accomplished athletes, and hosting the Youth Sports Directory with information about over 100 sports programs. This searchable directory allows families to find sports opportunities by neighborhood, age, sport, and other criteria, including registration instructions for each program. Program representatives not yet listed in the directory are encouraged to fill out this form.

“The Youth Sports Directory is a critical outreach tool for our youth programs,” said Charlie Cofield, a community sports leader and dedicated parent who has mentored numerous Boston youth by creating city-wide sports programs and events. He adds, “Recognizing the need for this resource is a win-win for the community and the City of Boston as a whole.”

Mayor Wu also announced the hiring of the City’s first Youth Sports Initiative Manager, Tyrik Wilson. Wilson serves as a liaison between youth sports providers and the City of Boston, working to create more city-wide opportunities for youth athletes and spotlighting their accomplishments.

“I am excited to take on this role, and appreciate the opportunity to find new ways to invest in programs for our young athletes that I wish I had while growing up in Mattapan and around the city,” said Tyrik Wilson, Youth Sports Initiative Manager. “Our goal is to invest in our youth and build stronger connections in our community. The vision is to eventually create a better bond between our families, local sport organizations, and the schools”

Before this role, Wilson has worked with youth for the past 15 years in a variety of roles, as a coach, mentor, counselor, and developmental trainer. Starting in 2013, he also worked as a WIC Program Specialist for the USDA-Food and Nutrition Services Program (FNS) for 10 years coordinating programs in three different states. During his time, Wilson also served as the Lead Diversity and Inclusion Specialist where he hosted cultural events locally and nationally. Prior to joining the City in February 2024, Wilson also served as a consultant for Thacher Montessori School, where he worked with youth with a variety of organizational and behavioral challenges. “This role is crucial because it specifically focuses on the youth,” said Jaylen Hunter-Coleman, sophomore point guard for the Charlestown High School basketball team. “There needs to be more events to celebrate the youth,

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