Two Danbury brothers, whose lives were transformed by Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries’ mentoring programs, have created a youth flag football organization with the goal of developing not only area youths’ athletic ability, but their character and pride too.
Kih Best, 22, and Robert Best, 19, have started Connecticut Pride Flag Football, and are inviting both boys and girls from all over greater Danbury to a series of free clinics this month at the Danbury Sports Dome. A tournament ($10 per player) will follow; during both, coaches will be evaluating players for a travel flag football team that could potentially play at regional levels. Selection to the travel team, will be based on attitude, improvement and athletic ability, they say.
The organization is being sponsored by PDYM, a ministry of Jericho Partnership, and the Mitchell Oil Company. The clinics, for athletes aged 8 -14, take place every Sunday: January 8 and 22 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm; January 15 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.; January 29 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
“We wanted to start an organization that was just for kids, and not run by parents,” said Robert, who along with his brother have been players, coaches and referees with various sports teams. “Every single kid that is going into this is going to come out a better athlete, but also a better person, because we are going to talk about things like that at our team meetings.”
“We really just want to give back, and bring kids together and give them a sense of brotherhood since they don’t normally play (sports) with each other,” Kih said. “They see each other at the movies and at the mall, but we just wanted to bring them all together and give them that sense of family. Flag football is one of those activities where you can be good at it even if you haven’t played football or other sports, because it’s about speed and agility.”
Both young men were mentored for years through Pathways Danbury, a Jericho program that matches at-risk boys with a mentor who helps guide them through life’s inevitable challenges. They both say their affiliation with Pathways has brought them to where they are today.
“It’s made me mature,” said Robert. “If it weren’t for Mr. (Michael) Taylor (his mentor) and Mrs. (Clara) Perkins (PDYM leader) being tough on me, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and we wouldn’t be doing this. They always taught me to look to the future and to always think big.”
The clinics are open to athletes from Danbury, Brookfield, New Milford, and other towns. Teams are being assembled for 8-10 year-olds (co-ed); 11-12 year-olds (coed); 13-14 year-olds (boys); and 13-14 year-olds (girls). Clinics will cover introduction to flag football, basic football skills, footwork and football vision, and speed and agility. Participants must attend at least two clinics and play in the tournament to be eligible for the travel team.
To register, visit http://bit.ly/2j8AOFs. For questions about the clinics or tournament, contact Kih at (203) 313-8119 or Robert (203) 313-7716.