BALTIMORE, April 24, 2012 – US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport, today announced the expansion of its First Stick Program, designed to deliver comprehensive developmental and safety resources, equipment, USL membership and coaches training to awarded teams. The program is geared for new and developing youth (U19 and below) lacrosse teams nationwide.
The US Lacrosse First Stick Program will provide for a two-year partnership between the national organization and an awarded team, during which time US Lacrosse will help to develop a self-sustaining youth lacrosse program that operates by USL’s national standards and best practices. One of the program’s primary goals is to help break down the barriers to participation by providing free and/or discounted resources to new teams.
"We are excited that the First Stick Program will now allow US Lacrosse to extend its partnership with new teams to two years and offer more programs and services to support their growth," said Morgan Cook, manager of the First Stick Program. "Lacrosse is a rapidly growing sport in many parts of the country and one of the goals of this initiative is to provide the resources necessary for new teams to develop to the point where they can operate independently while still meeting USL national standards."
The expansion is, in fact, an evolution of three former USL programs: BRIDGE, Emerging Groups and Equipment Grants. The First Stick Program was expanded by building upon the key elements of those programs and will continue to operate under the premise of assisting the development and sustainability of youth lacrosse programs. The First Stick Program originated in 2010 thanks to charitable gifts provided by former Oceanside (N.Y.) High School teammates Paul Meyer, Peter Gibson, and Lou Delligatti.
Through the years, US Lacrosse was fortunate to receive generous support for the Equipment Grant program from many leading lacrosse manufacturers and retailers. Similarly, USL’s goal is to make the First Stick Program an industry-wide initiative.
"We already know that those in the lacrosse industry do a great job of giving back to the game independently," said Billy Hook, director of programs at US Lacrosse. "We would like to see them view First Stick as the charitable focus of the industry. Blending those donations with coaches and officials education, safety resources and other USL resources really raises the bar to a whole new level. That’s the spirit behind the First Stick Program."
Applicant groups for the First Stick Program must have a demonstrated financial need and must be a community based youth team or organization, or an elementary, middle or high school team. A full explanation of program benefits and eligibility requirements can be reviewed at www.uslacrosse.org/FirstStick. Online applications for the first round of program awards are also available and will be accepted through July 1, 2012.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse and is the parent organization of the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams program. US Lacrosse has 400,000 members in 64 regional chapters around the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game. To learn more about US Lacrosse, please visit www.uslacrosse.org.