Project Play: Southeast Michigan, an initiative driven and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, announced Mt. Clemens as one of eight new sites in the region to receive funding for their new “SportPort: Equipment Sharing for All” program. SportPort is a free youth sports equipment sharing program that will provide a lending library of sports and recreation equipment that can be checked out at multiple sites within the city.
The program is aimed at children 5 to 13, however, it is open to all community members. The idea is to facilitate more free play for children and families with the goal increasing the amount of physical activity as well as the exposure to a variety of sports and recreation options. SportPort provides free access to sports equipment such as baseballs and gloves, basketballs, soccer balls and nets, flag football and more.
Advancing Macomb partnered with the Mt. Clemens Public Library, the Jermaine Jackson Community Center, and the City of Mt. Clemens to create a program plan and secure a two-year grant for this program. Mt. Clemens does not currently have a parks and recreation program, so the need for access to sports and recreation is great. “The community in Mt. Clemens has expressed a desire for access to sports equipment and recreation programming for youth in and around the city,” said Diane Banks of Advancing Macomb. “SportPort will enable more kids to experience a variety of sports in nearby locations, free of charge. We believe this program will help address a community need around healthy living, recreation and help attract families to the area.”
The Mt. Clemens Public Library will catalog the equipment and use a computerized system to serve as the basis for checking out the pieces from any of the sites. Library cards from any of the Suburban Library Cooperative member libraries can be used and prospective borrowers will be registered for library cards as needed.
Sites for check out will be at the Mt. Clemens Public Library, at the Jermaine Jackson Community Center, and the Mt. Clemens Community Center on Groesbeck to make items available in multiple areas of the city. Both the community centers will have designated hours that the equipment is available for check out and will also host open gym and free play opportunities. These play times will be supervised by volunteers or staff members and healthy snacks and educational materials regarding healthy living will be available.
In addition, SportPort pop-up clinics hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit Y on the Fly also will take place at locations in Mt. Clemens multiple times per week. YMCA staff will be present during the pop-up events to encourage kids to play and try new equipment. Visit http://www.mtclib.org/ for a calendar of pop-up events.
SportPort is funded by Project Play: Southeast Michigan, an initiative driven and funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s Youth Sports & Recreation focus area in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. For more information visit www.projectplaysemi.org.