Raelyn shoots and scores with help from teammate Gia (#2) as they are guarded by their friend Sawyer (#10)

By: Tara Blue
Southern Boone high school athletes are often highly successful and our teams have brought home many state championships over the years. While many of our amazing teens have natural talent, their achievements do not occur in a vacuum.

The hard work and dedication of the adults and organizations around them help guide their progress, and there’s hardly a better “Friend to Youth” than the Ashland Optimist Club.

The Optimist Club is currently keeping Southern Boone students in grades 1st-6th active and engaged throughout the winter season. Every Saturday, from November through February, our local children compete in recreational games against their own classmates and other Mid-Missouri teams.

The program is one of the stepping-stones which helps prepare children for competition at the high school level and beyond.

Youth Basketball Coordinator Madeline Bloss says the program has 236 players on 27 teams around Central Missouri this season. Bloss says “it’s wonderful to see the kids out there having fun and learning the game of basketball.”

Denver (#1) plays defense against Kipton and Blake with help from teammates Rhett and Griffin

The emphasis of the games is on basic skills and instruction. Kids in grades 1 and 2 play 3v3 games against their Southern Boone peers and are refereed by their volunteer coaches. Kids in grades 3 through 6 compete in 5v5 basketball against other teams in the Mid-Missouri Youth Basketball Association (MMYBA) and are refereed by our local high school basketball students.

If anyone is interested in volunteering to support the program as a game day volunteer, please contact Bloss or Leigh Kottwitz at ashlandoptimistbasketball@gmail.com.

Check the Ashland Optimist Club website to register for the upcoming soccer season (1st-8th grade), and baseball/softball season (preK-2nd).

The Southern Boone Area YMCA is also accepting registration for their upcoming baseball/softball season (3rd-8th grades) and their “Little Spikers” volleyball season (3-6 years).