Category Archives: Youth

South Kitsap Soccer: Take the Poll

In March, I wrote about a brewing brouhaha over South Kitsap Soccer Club’s proposal to switch registration for younger players to random team assignments. Today, the Kitsap Sun ran a story on the trend toward randomization. At issue is whether is it better for younger players to stay with the team they played on the year before or to be reassigned randomly to level the playing field, so to speak.

I was copied on more than 30 e-mails from parents who disagree with the soccer board’s policy. Mark Strombeck, a coach and parent who encouraged peole to sound off to the board, said that was only about a third of the 100 or so e-mails to board actually received. At that, said board president Mike Kerr, the naysayers represent about 10 percent of the club’s membership (there were about 1,300 players last year). In the interest of allowing all SKSC families to weigh in, I have posted a poll on Speaking of South Kitsap.

If you’d like to weigh in, you can take a poll on the home page of this blog (scroll down, the poll is on the right.

Friday Afternoon Club: Loud Music, Hot Bikes, Free Stuff

Pass the word to any homeless or couch surfing young people you know. I’ll be at this even and do a story about homeless youth in Kitsap County, currently set to run Monday.

StandUp for Kids Hosts Youth Event Saturday
By Chris Henry
The Kitsap Chapter of StandUp For Kids, a national organization advocating for homeless youth, will hold an event 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Silverdale’s Waterfront Park in conjunction with the annual 48 Hours on the Streets event.
Across the United States, chapter members spend 48 hours on April 23 through 25, raising awareness and reaching out to homeless youth.
Kitsap’s event, 48 Kitsap Youth Street Concert, will feature live music by the band “Snakebite” and a display of custom motorcycles by Rottweiler Bikes.
Local organizations dedicated to helping the homeless will have information and referrals on hand. There will be food from CJ’s Evergreen Catering and distribution of backpacks with snacks and hygiene supplies.

That Mess of Sailboats on Dyes Inlet? Yeah, They Know What They’re Doing

Brynn Grimley writes:

Don’t be alarmed this weekend if you see a whole fleet of sailboats maneuvering around Dyes Inlet, looking at times like they’re doing the Lake Union Duck Dodge.

The Central Kitsap Sailing Team is hosting the Northwest Interscholastic Association’s district championships April 23-25 along Silverdale’s waterfront. Initial estimates show 130 to 150 sailors from across the state will “blow in” to Kitsap for the competition. The winner will advance to the national championship, which just so happens to be held on Lake Union this year.

A number of Kitsap teams will compete, including Kingston, North Kitsap, Bainbridge Island and of course CK. Interestingly enough, there are no teams from Seattle that qualified to race.

The competition will be double-handed fleet racing, where two sailors fill a sailboat (in CK’s case they have one Laser and eight Vanguards), and line up at a start line. When the horn sounds they take off, maneuvering the boats to get the best position on the wind and cross the finish line first.

If the weather is nice and you feel like watching some of our area kids try “their hand” at double-handing these lightweight sailboats (without capsizing and landing in the drink) head down to the Silverdale Waterfront Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cheer them on.

If you want to know more about the CK Sailing Team and how it got its start, read the story I wrote three years ago when they had their inaugural season, found here.

Joint Pee Wees/Little League Lease Likely to Be Extended

Parents and players with South Kitsap Pee Wees turned out in force Tuesday before the Port Orchard City Council. Members of the youth football club were anxious about the upcoming renewal of a Givens Center ball field lease they hold jointly with South Kitsap Western Little League.

The lease expires at the end of April. The council will discuss renewal of the joint lease at a work study meeting April 20th. They’ll vote on the lease April 27.

The council on March 9 allowed the Little League club to assume the lease from South Kitsap Babe Ruth, which folded early in March after 50 years in operation.

According to an e-mail distributed to Pee Wee members and local media on March 29, some Pee Wees were worried the city intended to boot them off the field, which they have shared with Babe Ruth for a number of years.

Cindie Morrill, a Pee Wee parent, in the e-mail urged other parents, coaches and players to show their support for the football program. “SK Pee Wees has been informed by the City of Port Orchard that if the community does not show support for Pee Wees, we may not be allowed to share with Western Little League as we had done in the past with Babe Ruth.”

The e-mail was forwarded by another Pee Wee supporter,, with the comment, “Our mayor, Mr (Lary) Coppola does not like football and does not want to renew the lease. He wants to change the community play field “TO BASEBALL ONLY” Someone please help pull this guys head and the city councils out of their ?”

Apparently it was like that game of telephone we used to play as kids, where players sit in a circle and whisper a message in the ear of the person next to them. By the time the message goes full circle, it’s usually pretty well mangled.

The flames may have been fanned by a dropped word typo (since corrected online) in a weekly publication’s article on the shared lease.

What the mayor did say at the March 9 meeting, in his characteristically blunt style, is that if the two clubs can’t get along, they’d both lose the lease. The city has had to referee conflict between Babe Ruth and the Pee Wees in the past, and Coppola was having none of it from the new arrangement.

“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone,” he told Bob Showers of Western Little League.

The one council member who on March 9 voted against transferring the lease to Western Little League was Fred Olin, chairman of the city’s public property committee. Olin at the time said he thought the two uses were not compatible. But by Tuesday’s meeting, he said the committee was satisfied that the joint lease would be workable after all. “We felt we had a resolution worked out pretty well with Western Little League and Pee Wees,” Olin said. “I don’t see any problem.”

On Tuesday, officials from both organizations vowed to cooperate with each other as they share the field, even though their respective needs may sometimes conflict. Pee Wees reseeds the field after their season, for example, but the grass may not be far enough along to play on by the time Little League holds tryouts in early spring. All part of the details they’ll have to work out.

“I don’t think you have to worry about us not working together again. We’re all here for the kids,” said Pee Wees President Chuck Burns.

Alas, much ado about nothing.

The Pee Wees’ passion for their program (which includes basketball and cheer) was clear from comments made by parents and coaches on Tuesday.

Single parent Dorothy Williams said Pee Wee football was a godsend to her and her sons, one of whom landed a full-ride scholarship to play football for Eastern Washington University. “I don’t know what we would have done without it,” Williams said.

Basketball coach Ron Smith said Pee Wee programs give kids who may not make the cut on school teams a chance to get in on the action.

“I think everyone’s missing the point here. This is for the kids,” Smith said. “I think everyone’s getting lost in this battle.”

To which Coppola replied, “I’d like to say I couldn’t agree with you more.”

Speaking of Young Men and Cars

I call them “the vultures,” my son and his friends. They descend on our kitchen, inhaling anything edible, speaking in a cacophony of adolescent male egos, leaving scraps and bones scattered about before flocking to the next house to see what’s in the ‘fridge.

They have a great appetite for life, these boys-on-their-way-to-becoming-men. They talk about soccer and girls and haircuts and shoes … OMG, they are obsessed with shoes.

Last Wednesday, they swooped in after I had spent more than two hours preparing a dinner of pork adobo and lumpia— a far cry from my son’s friend’s Filipino grandma’s cooking, but I do what I can to lure them briefly. In the five minutes it took for them to consume the meal, they chatted about girls and soccer and shoes … and the crash. Just down the road, there’s a gash in a tree, the site of an accident that took the life of the 18-year-old driver, Michael James Adams, not far from his family’s home.

My son yearns for his learner’s permit. He looks at cars as we pass by and says, “I could drive that.” Anything but a truck, like his dad’s, or a van, like mine, preferably something low and sleek, red or black.

“What’s the hurry?” I say. “You have a perfectly decent bike and two personal chauffeurs.”

I’d rather he stick with shoes.

When his older brother, now 25, was about to be born, my husband anxiously asked the doctor, “What’s the most dangerous time?” The doctor replied, “When he gets his license.”

We used to laugh about that. That doctor, what a card.

On Saturday, I reported on the death of another 18-year-old. Mark S. Schroeder Jr. of Fontana, Calif., a sailor at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, was driving southbound in his black 2008 Hyundai Tiburon when he hit the highway’s jersey barrier near the turnoff to Belfair, lost control of the car and struck a power pole. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Passengers in the car, who escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, told Washington State Patrol troopers Schroeder had recently acquired the car.

I shared the story with my son, selfishly using the tragedy as a cautionary tale. The cause of the crash is unclear. Drugs and alcohol were ruled out as factors. Excessive speed was not mentioned in the WSP report. It would be easy to speculate, but also fruitless.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.

* In 2008, nine teens ages 16 to 19 died every day on U.S. roadways from motor vehicle injuries.

* Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.

* In 2008,  about 3,500 teens in the United States ages 15 to 19 were killed, and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

Our condolences to the families of the young men who died.

Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun reporter

For the Good of the Game

Two items related to youth sports in South Kitsap.

Act I: Can Pee Wees and Little League Play Nice?
The Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow South Kitsap Western Little League to take over the remainder of the Babe Ruth Association’s lease on the baseball field at Givens Community Center.
With the demise of Babe Ruth, SKWLL had hoped to occupy the field, thereby giving a better play venue to their older players than the junior high school fields they’ve been using.
SKWLL representative Bob Showers was there making his pitch, along with Art Mikelsen, a long-time supporter of youth baseball. The Little League season is just swinging into gear and will run through July. The South Kitsap Pee Wees take the field from August through November.
Pee Wee representatives were not at the meeting. But the city attorney had determined that the lease could be altered with out consent of the leasees.
Fred Olin, chairman of the public property committee, was the lone council member voting against the lease transfer. Olin said the two uses aren’t compatible, and although Pee Wees and Babe Ruth have shared the field for several years, there’s been friction.
“They can’t play in the sandbox together,” he said.
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola seconded that observation saying much of his first year as mayor of the city was occupied by “playing referee” between the two groups.
“We’re not going to get in a he-said-she-said, ya, ya contest with you and the Pee Pees,” Coppola said to Showers. “There’s been costly staff time fighting about how fields would be maintained and who’s going to maintain them. We’re not going there about this.
“What I told them then and what I’m telling you now is, you will make this work and you will get along with Pee Wees or you’ll both be gone.”
Showers pledged that, whatever has gone on in the past, his organization will prove themselves good stewards and good neighbors.
“We are willing to work with them,” Showers said.
Rocky Huff, Pee Wees vice president, acknowledged on Friday that there historically has been conflict over field maintenance. The problem is that his group can’t reseed the field in the depths of winter. So the re-growth of the grass — chewed up by hudreds of Pee Wee cleats — sometimes encroached on baseball season.
The problem has not proven insurmountable, however, and with some recent changes in leadership on the part of both groups, the scuffling has died down, Huff said.
The lease transfer is only until the end of April, when the Babe Ruth/Pee Wee lease is up for renewal … or not. Terms of the lease are identical for both groups. The next month-and-a-half could be considered a trial period during which Pee Wees and SKWLL can prove they can share the sandbox after all.

Act II: Should Soccer Teams for U9 Players Be Randomly Assigned?
The South Kitsap Soccer Club met Thursday night to discuss whether the Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tournament would die for lack of volunteers. About a dozen folks responded to a call for show-of-hands, so it looks like the tournament may come off after all.
A knottier issue was the proposal by the SKSC board to randomly assign players eight years old and under to teams. This would mean that, except for players whose parents are coaches, kids would play on a new team with a new coach each year.
This model is seen by board members as better for player development. Under the current system, some teams with adept players and coaches become dominant, resulting in lopsided matches that don’t serve anyone well, board members said. The focus is on the team and its record, not the development of individual players. Coaches and players stagnate.
The proposal has been met with strong resistance from parents, especially those who have invested time to coach their child and other children. They say randomizing teams would disrupt any consistency or momentum they’ve managed to generate among team members. One of the most important benefits of soccer, especially at a young age, is the socialization kids get from being part of a team. Kids don’t like or tolerate change, they say.
The observation was made that qualification and training of coaches should be more uniform if the club moves to this system. Board members agreed and said they would provide more opportunities for training.

South Kitsap Soccer Club last year had about 1,300 players. OK, you 1,300 families out there, I’ve got a challenge. Help your KIDS find the poll on the homepage of this blog and let them have their say. Should the club move to randomized teams for players 8 years old and under? (I’m OK with players old than 8 taking the poll.) The choices are:
Yes, I think it would be fun to play with different kids every year.
Yes. Then some kids wouldn’t get stuck with a bad coach while others get to keep a good coach.
No, my teammates are my friends. I would miss them.
No, my coach rocks. I want to stay with him/her.
I don’t care. I just want to play.

Youth Sports: Dying for Volunteers?

Yesterday, I wrote on this blog about the possibility that South Kitsap Soccer Club may not host a long-standing tournament, the Kitsap Kick-off. The tournament last year drew 72 teams, many from out of town. You can bet that those families ate at local restaurants, got gas at local stations and likely stayed at local motels if they came from a distance. Aside from the good of the game, there is a clear economic benefit to local sports tournaments. The problem, said SKSC president Mike Kerr, is they can’t get volunteers to run the tournament.

Lack of volunteers is also a factor in the demise of South Kitsap Babe Ruth, which has folded after more than 50 years as a South Kitsap institution. Primarily, the The South Kitsap Babe Ruth Association was disbanded due to lack of players and the economy, said SKBRA president Jerry Holaway Monday.

From Annette Griffus’ story:

SKBR began in 1956 as a Pony Colt League for 13 to 15-year-olds.

SKBRA isn’t the only Babe Ruth association to fold in Kitsap. Bremerton folded last year, said District 8 commissioner Bob Fojtik. The district encompasses the school districts of South Kitsap, Bremerton, Central Kitsap and Bainbridge Island.

Fojtik said a combination of reasons led to the Babe Ruth leagues folding including: a lack of parent volunteers, families unable to commit to the time involved for games and practices and players dropping out or choosing to play select baseball.

“It can’t be a one-or-two-person show running the season,” he said.

End of clip.

My thoughts: Lack of parent volunteers and families unable to commit to the time involved for games and practices are a function of longer work hours, longer commutes and the economic need for two parents to work.

At the same time, select sports seem to be thriving. Parents are plenty willing to spend the time traveling, often farther afield than they would have to in a recreational league, and they’re willing to spend the substantially higher fees select sports require, meaning they need to work longer and harder to pay the bills. I’m not knocking select sports. I’m just saying …

Some organizations require some degree of parent volunteer participation. You work so your kids can play. Should all recreational sports organizations adopt this model? Take the poll on the home page of this blog.

Kitsap Kick-off Soccer Tourney Could Be Cancelled

Addendum 3:30 p.m. March1: Minutes for the South Kitsap Soccer Club can be found on the Washington State Youth Soccer Association Web site under information, then documents.

The South Kitsap Soccer Club Board of Directors is considering cancellation of the Kitsap Kick-off, annual soccer tournament, due to lack of volunteers, said club president Mike Kerr.

The Board will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at Marcus Whitman Junior High School to discuss the proposal with club members.

Another proposal to be discussed at the meeting is switching the U9 teams for players 8 years old and under to randomized team assignment. In other words the rosters and coaches would change each year.

The KKO last year was moved from its traditional slot on Labor Day weekend to the week before, a move that Kerr said resulted in increased participation. The number of teams in 2009, 72, was up from 40 the previous year. Fees from the 2009 tournament generated $10,000 in revenue for the club.

The tournament appears to be a plus for the club. Additionally, with the KKO bringing teams from out of town for a three-day tournament, the local economy stands to lose out if the tournament is canceled.

The board went ahead and registered for the tournament this year, in the hope that volunteers will step forward from the meeting. If the KKO goes forward, the dates would be Aug. 27, 28 and 29.

Members of the board last year held roles in organizing the tournament, but “the executive board is stretched thin,” said Kerr.

Following a 2008 change in board organization, in which the number of board members was reduced from 21 to 13, a number of volunteers in key positions left the club. Positions that had previously been board positions became non-voting “committee member” positions. The change was made in part because the club was having trouble coming up with a quorum and had become “unwieldy,” Kerr said. Nevertheless, it appeared to have caused bad feelings on the part of some board members who left the club disgruntled.

I asked Kerr today if the club was having trouble filling volunteer positions. He said, no, only in the area of the Kitsap Kick-off. According to the SKSC Web site, one board position and four committee positions out of a total of 21 positions altogether are vacant.

Kerr who previously held the post of Vice President of Administration is now serving as club president. Former president Dick Morhrmann stepped down in December, 2009. Mohrmann was not available for comment. According to Kerr, he was “just getting tired.”

Mohrmann, in his late 60s, a former president of the Washington State Youth Soccer Association, was appointed in Jan. 11, 2008, as club president by SKSC’s parent organization, Kitsap Peninsula Youth Soccer Association, which stepped in at that time over what many called “dysfunction” on the board.

South Kitsap Soccer Club at one time had around 1,500 players. In 2009, there were about 1,200. That’s still a lot of kids and a lot of families who could potentially be affected if volunteer momentum that keeps the club going peters out, for whatever reason. If the executive board is stretched thin, that would suggest they are having trouble recruiting volunteers.

If you’ve been involved in the club, tell me how you think things are going. What do you think of the proposals on the table (No KKO; randomize team assignments for players 8 and under). Have you volunteered in the past? If you no longer volunteer, why?

Leave your comments here, or contact me at

Thanks, Chris Henry

Kitsap Commissioners to Consider Sewers & “the Laughter of Children”

Two public hearings of note on Monday’s agenda for the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

1. The board will hear an appeal by the Farmhouse Montessori School in South Kitsap of the county hearing examiner’s denial for a special permit that would allow the school/day care to operate in a rural neighborhood.

2. The Board of Commissioners also will take up the issue of whether to form a Local Improvement District to extend a sewer line along Colchester Drive in Manchester.

Farmhouse Montessori

Kitsap County planners recommended approval of the school’s permit request, but when the project reached the Hearing Examiner Ted Hunter, several nearby residents said they weren’t too keen on the proposal, especially considering the extra traffic, noise and potential damage to the environment.
Hunter denied the permit, saying the use would be detrimental to the surrounding property owners.

“Educating children is an admirable profession and laudable goal,” Hunter wrote in his findings. “Montessori schools offer a unique perspective on the educational process and can provide a valuable service to the community. (But) noise generated by laughter and screaming of young children during outdoor playtime and by up to 84 vehicle trips to and from the property would be materially detrimental to single-family residential properties in the immediate vicinity.”

Manchester Sewer LID 9

The Board of commissioners deferred a decision on the matter, after testy testimony from area residents, who questioned the accuracy of the costs and the process by which LID boundaries were drawn.

Ron Rada, chairman of the Manchester Community Council’s sewer committee, is spearheading the LID process. After the previous meeting in June, he submitted to the board a detailed response to questions raised during the hearing.

Among other questions, Rada addresses a concern about LID boundaries raised by Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, a Manchester resident. Avery asked why some properties between the previously formed LID 8 and the proposed LID 9 were not required to be part of either district. Avery said it was unfair to other residents that these folks weren’t obliged to pay their share of the cost.

Rada, in his letter, explained that some property owners joined LID 8 as latecomers, a move approved by the board. The latecomers and those who didn’t want to hook up to the sewer form a patchwork of properties between LID 8 and 9, some with sewer service, some without.

The committee couldn’t legally require the unsewered properties to be part of LID 9, Rada explained, because the sewer line had already been extended to accommodate the latecomers in LID 8. The law permits LID boundaries to include only properties without current access to sewer. When and if the septic on the properties in LID no-man’s-land fail, they will be required to either fix them or hook up to the sewer, Rada said.

Rada also sent me an article by John Carpita, a public works consultant, explaining how local utility districts are formed . The title of the article, “Are We Having Fun Yet?” hints at the complexity of the process, but Carpita spells it out in his introduction, saying, “LIDs are more fun than root canals without novocaine, a three-month visit from your in-laws, balancing city budgets… (with) a reputation as difficult to administer, time consuming and a public relations disaster waiting to happen (my emphasis added).”

The article addresses the issue of proportionality of assessments. “Statutes specify that the assessment per parcel must not exceed the special benefit, which is defined as the fair market value of the property before and after the local improvement project,” Carpita writes.

Resident Tom Warren questioned whether residents were proportionately represented. The petition approval was determined by area of property, giving those with larger properties more weight in the vote, yet the amount assessed per property is the same, he observed. Carpita’s article confirms that the LID petition “needs to be signed by owners of 51 percent of area within the LID.” (The LID 9 petition just barely met this threshold.) Clearly, Rada & company followed the statutes. However, the question the commissioners need to answer (and one that perhaps Avery himself could address) is whether having access to the sewer line conveys equal value to each property regardless of its size.

I’m going on vacation next week, so will pass this off into other capable hands. But I’ll be watching to see how the commissioners rule and invite your comments of enlightenment before or after the meeting. Cheers.

Saturday Services Set for Sedgwick Student

Students at John Sedgwick Junior High School learned on Monday that one of their classmates, Heather Marie Stanford, 15, had died on Sunday.
“At this time we have no further information or details concerning this tragedy,” said Principal Jay Villars, in a letter to students’ families sent home Monday.
Stanford passed away Sunday of unknown causes at a home in the 8300 block of SE Southworth Drive, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson.
“At this point, the demise of Heather Marie Stanford is being investigated as an unexpected death,” Wilson said. “Her death is not being classified as suspicious.”
The Kitsap County Coroner is awaiting results of toxicology tests done as part of an autopsy.
Counselors have been on hand at John Sedgwick throughout the week to talk with students and staff members. Stanford, a ninth grader, was remembered at the school with cards and flowers set around the flagpole on Tuesday and a moment of silence on Wednesday.
According to an obituary that ran in the Kitsap Sun Thursday, Stanford was born Oct. 1, 1993, to Cristie and Edward Stanford, and she grew up in Port Orchard. She was an artist, loved to cook, enjoyed fashion and recently did some modeling. She loved old Chevys and being outdoors.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday and at 11 a.m. May 9 at Evergreen Baptist Church, 5775 SE Sedgwick Road in Port Orchard. An online guest book is available at