The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

Youth Sports: Inspiring the Next Generation of Wildcats

The four most popular youth sports A-West provides are Spirit/Cheer, Track, Basketball, and Wrestling, and with so many sports, there’s no shortage of options.

“I think that introducing the kids at a younger age to that school spirit kind of gets them excited to eventually be in high school,” Cheer Coach and Staff Member McKenna Biddle says, adding “[It] instills that school spirit at a really young age so that they bleed purple when they get here.” As the Head Cheer Coach at Arvada West High School, Biddle interacts with a lot of future A-West students, whether it’s some of the younger children who participate in the Peewee spirit camp or Middle Schoolers who join in on Cheer’s Prospect Camp. Despite Cheer seeing a lot of Youth through their events there are many other athletics and clubs at Arvada West that are the host to kids interested in the school and its sports.

A group photo of Cheer, Poms, and the children that attended the Peewee camp- Courtesy of Arvada West Cheer Instagram

While many see youth sports as a way to prepare children for school and future athletics, they do much more than just provide a place for children to get out of the house. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, “Sports help children develop physical skills, get exercise, make friends, have fun, learn teamwork, learn to play fair, and improve self-esteem.” It is clear that youth sports help set the foundation for children and how they interact with other people for the rest of their lives, especially through the constant teamwork and communication that is required to do any sport. These are only a couple of reasons why Arvada West must offer options for kids who plan on going to the school and want to play a sport while learning about the environment before they go to high school.

These sports also mostly take place in different seasons, leaving room for kids to participate in multiple sports if they wish. Girls Gold Crown Basketball is just one of these options for children and it’s an important step in helping kids either practice to play in high school or just play the sport for fun. 

Frank Grieve, a coach for youth girls basketball, believes it’s more than just a sport, ”It is a great way to participate and bond with others that live in your area and set a strong sense of culture and community that will hopefully one day represent the high school well.” Many kids who play youth sports continue to play through high school, mostly because of the foundation they built while they were young. Furthermore, having these youth sports attached to a specific school gives the kids that connection to a high school at a younger age, making them more likely to attend that school and play for them. Grieve elaborates on this, saying, ”Once you play a season and experience that connection to a school it is there forever.” The kids in these groups also make possibly lifelong friends who may end up going to school with them, all through their experience in a youth club that helps them learn how to navigate the world and work with a team. 

The Arvada West Fast Cats logo

Girls Youth Basketball is one of many options at Arvada West; the school also offers a Youth track club during the summer called Fast Cats. Terry Mays, A-West’s Track coach, and Fast Cats coach, appreciates how youth sports can help kids decide if they like the sport and want to continue playing, stating, “For a kid that’s not really sure if they wanna run track or whatever it’s a good starting point for the kids in it.” Fast Cats is open for kids from ages five to 16, meaning it can help kids in high school decide if they want to play the sport even though they may be starting a little later than others. Mays also sees the change in kids after they’ve attended the club multiple times, sharing, “When they come back I do see a big change, We have parents tell us all the time, y’know thank you for this.”

According to, “73% of parents believe that sports benefit their child’s mental health (and) 88% of parents believe that sports benefit their child’s physical health.” And this is for good reason: studies show that sports lower amounts of stress and reduce the risks of cancer and diabetes. As long as a child are not over-exerting themselves in a sport, they are gaining much more than just fun skills and friends; they become healthier mentally and physically while also gaining life experience that could help them get jobs and overall make them a better person. 

Sports teach kids lessons early that they may not have learned until later; Grieve points this out, stating, “Working hard will give you the best chance to succeed in sports and life and that is undeniable.” For kids playing youth sports, the most important lesson to learn is to always work hard and try their best; “In basketball, just like in life, things aren’t always going to go your way no matter how hard you work. I don’t know of a single youth player who hasn’t lost a game,” says Grieve. Like all other sports, basketball teaches kids to work with a team, and that even if they lose the game it only matters if they put in the effort. Youth Basketball and Fast Cats are commitments for kids to make: they must consistently show up and try their best; however, for kids who want to try something out for less time, Cheer hosts a Peewee Spirit camp and a Prospect camp. Both events require 2-3 days of showing up and can help kids determine whether they like cheering. At the very least, it can be a fun thing for kids who already know what they like to participate in. 

Vinni Pacifico, a coach for youth wrestling at A-West, sees how these youth sports prepare kids for life, saying, “In wrestling all lessons learned in the room and on the competition mat can be directly applied to everyday life. Confidence, accountability, respect, drive/desire, and the ability to work through difficult situations.” He continues to talk about the effect that these sports had on him as a kid, explaining “I participated in football and wrestling growing up. I truly believe that I was shaped at a young age to be successful in life.”

“I did Peewee, like the Peewee cheerleading stuff when I was younger so it’s kinda fun to be on the other side of it,” says Biddle. As the Cheer Coach, Biddle knows how a couple of days can affect these kids, but she also notices how it affects the highschoolers who help the kids, stating, “I think it’s important to be a positive role model, we already kind of hold that responsibility in the school.” The Cheerleaders have to make sure that they assist the kids and help them understand what they’re doing and if they enjoy it.

An image of Cheer stunting during the Peewee camp- Courtesy of Arvada West Cheer Instagramssist the kids and help them understand what they’re doing and if they enjoy it. 

Biddle continues, “It’s really important and teaches a lot of life skills, how to be patient, and being one of them but, also just having fun with the kids I think brings the community closer.” Even if high-schoolers aren’t participating, youth sports can forge bonds between kids and parents who watch them play. 

Colorado Springs, nearby Arvada has seen the bonds of the community and wants to give the option for all kids to play regardless of how much money they have, “Thousands of local kids will benefit from the opportunity to play youth sports free of charge through at least 2026, thanks to a program created by Olympic City USA.” Hopefully as the world progresses through the years the positive effects of Youth Sports will be recognized and more kids will play all over the world.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Fallyn Bowlen
Fallyn Bowlen, Editor
Fallyn Bowlen is a freshman and it is her first year staff, in her free time she enjoys reading and playing with her pets. She's so excited to be in journalism this year and wants to make it an amazing year in journalism with the Westwind.

Comments (0)

All The Westwind Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *