2016 Year in Review
As we come to a close in 2016, we are filled with gratitude to look back at a year filled with impact, growth, and a sense of purpose. Reading through some of our year end thoughts from 2015, it is humbling to think about the progress we’ve made towards our goals. At the same time, it is with anxious excitement that we look ahead toward the coming year. Our city and youth face enormous challenges going into 2017 – childhood obesity, a lack of nutrition education, distrust between our youth and law enforcement, neighborhoods with high poverty and violence, a need for technology skills to help prepare children for new types of jobs – all individually unique and audacious challenges to fight. KING strives to offer our youth a group of mentors, aka our coaches, to help support them as they navigate these challenges in life. Learning healthy habits, conflict resolution, life skills, the importance of positivity and an active lifestyle – these are the values we focus on. If we offer positive role models and use sports as a medium to teach, we feel children can grow up to navigate through the challenges ahead.
Humble brag time?! A few highlights from our year!
- 1. The schools we serve and our team has doubled in size, reaching more than 15,000 children with 60+ KING coaches across NYC. How did we do it? A focus on our culture as a team, our training program, and always striving to go above and beyond for our schools and families.
- 2.Outside of school hours, we’ve started our first travel teams in both basketball (King Hoops) and volleyball (King Spikes). Our Manhattan and Brooklyn based teams put KING on their jerseys for the first time in 2016 and competed in tri-state area tournaments. We’re proud of our teams’ focus on fundamentals, work ethic, and commitment they have made to their teammates. Way to go Coach Paul and Coach Kat for leading these new programs.
- 3. KING’s Recess SPORT program has seen growth and continued improvements in 2016, with additions of more personalized recess games for each of our schools across the city. During recess we’ve developed a Jr. Coach Program, which has shaped a strong sense of mentorship and peer mediation within the school community. Teaching students about the importance of fair play, positivity, and inclusion during the short recess period is something the Jr. Coaches (usually 5th graders) have taken seriously. We’re proud to be coaching the leaders of the next generation!
- 4. Our team coached em’ up at the middle school level, taking over coaching responsibilities for schools looking to get teams off the ground, including Blessed Sacrament (basketball), BASIS Independent (volleyball), and Leman Manhattan (basketball, soccer, track).
- 5. We continued to grow our partnership with Up2Us Sports, adding 3 Coach Across America coaches and 2 Americorps VISTA members (vs 1 of each last year). Our CAA coaches attended trainings in Boston and Miami, continuing to develop as leaders. Our Americorps VISTA from 2016 also has recently joined our team full-time to lead our Marketing & Communications efforts (shout-out to Sheryl!)
- 6. We opened our 3rd summer camp location in Riverdale, Bronx! We’re proud to be part of the community and have continued to grow programming during the school year as well. We’re looking forward to our second summer uptown this June.
- 7. We expanded our presence in Brooklyn, adding a second small office in Gowanus. We’ve partnered with new schools in neighborhoods including Bensonhurst, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook, and have recently announced our 4th summer camp location in Park Slope with Saint Saviour HS.
- 8. We’re proud of the continued progress that the Partnership Schools (6 formerly struggling Catholic schools) have made and our team’s support in their mission. We ran sports clinics in basketball, soccer, and volleyball, took over a 150+ person after-school program at Mount Carmel Holy Rosary, ran an 8th grade event to help the kids build friendships before high-school, and ran a 600-person field day for their schools to build relationships through some healthy competition.
- 9. A boring BIG deal… our summer camps are now American Camp Association accredited! Our team knows the struggle this took to prep for and finish, and our 600+ summer camp families can rest assured that we are meeting industry best practices. You’ll find a nice logo stamp on our marketing materials this year!
- 10. We recently formed another entity within our organization, called KING Kids, which will focus on offering more of our programs to schools and families that lack financial resources. Our social mission strives to reach all children, regardless of background, and through fundraising goals and grant opportunities we hope to continue our progress here through the KING Kids programming.
- 11. Did you notice our new website? We embrace some old-school values at times, but we don’t want our technology to be an area of it. Looking ahead, we hope to help schools solve technology problems they face too when it comes to after-school programs, teams, and teaching technology and coding skills to those who would rather play sports.
- 12. In 2016, the Dept. of Education’s CHAMPS Middle School program contracted us to train dozens of their basketball coaches across Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. We’re looking forward to expanding our relationship with CHAMPS, as we see a huge value in embedding positive coaching principles in others across the city.
- 13. Finally, our team continues to grow from within. We had summer camp staff join us full-time in the fall (Cara & Tracey!), part-time coaches become coordinators (Chondite & Darren!), and numerous others get promoted internally to help manage the different areas within KING. Congrats to all of them for their growth!
We’re proud of our progress we’ve made in 2016 and can’t wait to get started on our goals for 2017. Huge thank you to all our schools, families, partners, friends, and coaches that make what we do so rewarding. Happy New Year!