For those of you who are not familiar with AYSO, we are an organization for youth from the ages of 4 through 19. We are a pure volunteer organization, meaning all our staff, regional board, coaches, team parents, referee's, concession stand workers and field workers are all volunteers; no one gets paid.
We are a family organization, a place where all parents have the chance to interact with their children.
AYSO is also a national organization having regions in all 50 states. Just within our own area we have regions in Altoona, Tyrone, Hollidaysburg, Cresson, Patton, Ebensburg, Glendale, Northern Bedford, Chestnut Ridge and Martinsburg. These are all made up of volunteers.
This is an organization where people come with their children, and people always feel safe here. It's family and has always been family.
Most of the children who have went through this program in the past 22 years are now growing up to become the adults in our society. They finish school, go to college, have good jobs and now have families. They are returning to AYSO with their children.
As for the Valley View fields, in 1990 they were hills and a swampy area that were turned in to lush green soccer fields. Who paid for this to happen? It was all built through fundraising and volunteer labor - many months, weeks, and days of hard work done by volunteers.
The county had no investment in turning what was once hills and a swamp into 7 acres of beautiful green fields.
I am sure they are very attractive as a selling feature, but let's take it back 22 years. How much would they be worth if they did not look so appealing?
I have kids who grew up playing soccer. This is where they started. They also played in the Altoona soccer club and in high school. Many parents can say the same about their kids. My only wish is for this all to continue in the future.
I strongly believe that this organization has created stronger families and formed many bonds between parents and children. Let's not lose this. Not today, and not in this world.
AYSO also has also helped the Altoona Area Junior High School soccer program and the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School teams by letting them use the fields in the fall for practice.
Bill James, Area Director AYSO 13/A