BALTIMORE, May 7, 2013 – US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport, is now accepting applications for its First Stick Program, designed to deliver comprehensive developmental resources, including equipment, USL membership and coaches training, to awarded teams. The program is geared for new and developing boys’ and girls’ youth (U19 and below) lacrosse teams nationwide.
The US Lacrosse First Stick Program provides 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 have quickly seen the extraordinary value of the First Stick Program in helping to launch new teams throughout the country," said Meghan Mulford, programs manager at US Lacrosse. "Beyond just a one-time deployment of resources, the comprehensive offering of equipment, membership, coaches’ education and training over a two-year period greatly enhances a new program’s chances for long-term sustainability."
US Lacrosse unveiled its expanded First Stick Program in 2012 and awarded developmental grants to 102 teams across 31 states nationwide. The First Stick Program evolved by building upon the key elements of three former USL programs - BRIDGE, Emerging Groups and Equipment Grants – which are no longer offered as independent programs.
Many of the same equipment manufacturers and retailers that supported the previous US Lacrosse programs continue to serve as partners in the First Stick Program. Their generous support is a key component in making the First Stick Program an industry-wide initiative.
"The contributions, donations and support that our equipment partners within the lacrosse industry provide are critical factors in helping to make the First Stick Program such a valuable and successful initiative," said Joshua Christian, managing director of sport development at US Lacrosse. "We hope that the continued development of the First Stick Program will provide even greater opportunities to engage new industry members in the future."
Applicant groups for the First Stick Program must be community-based youth teams or organizations, 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 will be accepted through July 15, 2013.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse and the home of the nation’s fastest-growing sport. US Lacrosse has more than 400,000 members in 64 regional chapters across the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse provides programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the sport.