With Santa Barbara being such a tight knit community, it’s no surprise that our community centers are hubs of activity during the school year. We spoke with one program that’s been providing team sports at its center for over 30 years and has developed the high quality program to show it.  

Noozhawk took the opportunity to sit down with Wana Dowell of the Page Youth Center, at 4540 Hollister Ave., to learn about its signature winter basketball program.

Page Youth Center

Question: What is the name of your after school program and what is its mission?

Answer: The Page Youth Center Winter League Basketball. The mission of Page Youth Center is to enhance the lives of our community’s youth by providing quality programs at a reasonable cost.

We continue our mission of keeping good kids good, helping boys and girls from 6-18 years of age develop self-confidence, physical fitness, and personal responsibility.

By presenting superior programs combined with exceptional facilities has truly made PYC the place to be for our community’s youth.

We feel that the PYC Winter Basketball League has, over the years, become our organization’s signature program and typically serves over 700 children each year.

Q: What is the age range for children to take part in your program?

A:  Grades first through eighth.

Q: Describe the activities involved in the Page Youth Center’s winter program.

A: PYC’s Winter League is quite a multi-phased program and so much fun for all the kids. Starting in November, the kids get to be evaluated in terms of skill level. The coaches then hold drafts and teams are put together. Every child gets to play and be on a team. The league is divided into separate divisions for boys and girls and then by grade. In December, the coaches, who are all volunteers, begin practicing with their teams and playing games.

Q: What can parents expect their kids to gain from participating in your after school program?

A: The kids learn about fair play, self-confidence,  teamwork and personal responsibility.

Q: Describe what makes your program unique and worthwhile.

A: The Page Youth Center Winter League has developed the reputation among parents and kids for being very well organized. With hundreds of kids playing, this becomes a very important issue and allows everyone to have a great time.    

Q: When was your program started and what was the inspiration for creating it?

A: The Page Youth Center Winter League was originally started in 1984 when the founders of the organization determined that our community needed a positive basketball experience for its children.

Q: Has any part of the program changed since it was created?

A: While the basic fundamentals of the program have not changed over the years, we have improved the quality of the games by hiring referees that are CIF trained and certified. We also adhere to the tenants of the Positive Coaching Alliance and constantly work to build character in our young players. We recently implemented the concussion training and certification program.  We have also implemented an online registration system.

Q: What is the best part, in your opinion, about your after school program?

A: PYC’s Winter League is such an exciting and fun experience for so many people of all ages in our community. Grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and friends fill the stands to support the players on the courts. The gym just rocks and rolls with cheers and applause.

Q: Describe a favorite activity.

A: Children love playing with and against their friends in a friendly and competitive environment.

Q:  In what ways is your program educational?

A: Along with basketball skills, it teaches self- confidence and sportsmanship and gives the youth of our community the opportunity to meet and play with children from all areas of our community.

Q: Is there anything else parents should know when deciding whether to send their kids to your program?

A: From what we hear  from the children in our programs, “PYC is the Place to Be.”

To learn more about Page Youth Center visit their website or Facebook page.

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