The Greater Wichita YMCA and 18 partners will welcome hundreds of teens for a first-ever esports tournament on Saturday September 14 from 6PM-12AM.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUES. SEPT. 3, 2019
GREATER WICHITA YMCA ADDS GAMING TO SPECIAL LATE NIGHT PROGRAM
The Greater Wichita YMCA is doing something totally new as part of its established Late Night program, esports. All area high schoolers are invited for a free night of play, competitions, cosplay, prizes, and more.
“We see ‘gaming’ as the latest societal trend the YMCA needs to embrace and integrate with our current programs and offerings,” said Ronn McMahon, President and CEO of the Greater Wichita YMCA. “The research and statistics are clear - participation levels and time spent playing are booming. We must figure out a way to be part of this movement as part of our commitment to serve the entire community.”
While concerns over the potential growth in sedentary lifestyle and social isolation are important to recognize, the National American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) – a group working to make esports part of high school and college curriculum – finds esports participants show higher levels of inclusion and mutual respect* and learn life skills like teamwork and strategic thinking while forming new types of social and community bonds through gaming**. The Greater Wichita YMCA is not alone in seeing this opportunity.
The YMCA has partnered with eighteen different organizations for this event. Esports teams from Wichita State University and area high schools – with integrated approaches that combine physical health and emotional wellness to participant gaming – will exhibit their skills. Other partners who donated expertise, resources, and more include area businesses who see gaming in their future either directly as event organizers and hardware providers or indirectly as employers wanting professionals with coding, graphic design, and online portal and virtual world experience and innovative problem solving skills.
“We always look to the community for input when we try something ‘new’,” said Brian Pond Chief Information Officer for the Greater Wichita YMCA. “This event is an opportunity to us to start exploring this space alongside groups that already have an understanding and expertise in the area. We are very fortunate to have their support.”
The Greater Wichita YMCA is leveraging national guidelines and best practices while talking and working within the community to ensure physical activity and mental health awareness are part of gaming programs and participation. With nine open branches in Southcentral Kansas and 190,000 members, the Y is also developing initiatives, to roll out in 2020, that will leverage technology to reach more people in the region.
The LN esports Tournament, on Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 6PM-12AM at the Farha Sports Center on the campus of the Richard A. DeVore South YMCA in Wichita will offer open and structured gaming, dinner, contests, and prizes are scheduled. Pre-registration forms for teens, a schedule, and more information is online.
The tournament event is part of an established, weekly Late Night program the Greater Wichita YMCA offers year-round. This type of event will, hopefully, introduce more kids to the program.
“We have kids that come every week for basketball, swimming, and hanging out,” said Cameron Jackson, Director of the Greater Wichita YMCA’s Late Night program. “Esports will likely appeal to them and a different type of kid who has maybe never been to Late Night before. That is great for us as we want to serve all kids from all communities and grow this program and its impact.”
Paid for through the donor-funded Strong Community Campaign, Saturday Late Night offers free access to a safe place, social and physical activities to about 400 kids each week. In 2018 over 5,000 different teens participated in at least one Late Night event with food, fun, and a chance to build appropriate relationships with non-parent adults – including Wichita Police officers and YMCA Staff – a proven factor in outcomes for at-risk teens.
To learn more about the Greater Wichita YMCA’s Late Night Saturday teen program, visit Late Night's page on our site.
ABOUT THE GREATER WICHITA YMCA
Since 1885, The Greater Wichita YMCA has promoted healthy lifestyles, strong families, and positive youth development and encouraged healthy spirit, mind, and body for all in Southcentral Kansas. Today, we employ 1,000+ and serve 300,000+ of our neighbors in Butler, Harvey, Kingman, Reno, and Sedgwick Counties through community development, education and wellness initiatives, and licensed child care and camp. We offer 190,000 members and all community participants nine branch locations, four seasonal, outdoor water parks, and three, indoor sports complexes in Andover, El Dorado, Newton, and Wichita. Our courts, fields, fitness centers, indoor tracks, pools, social spaces, studios, and turf host organized sports for all ages, hundreds of fitness programs and community, educational, social, and support activities. Our 2019 Strong Community Campaign collected $3MM that ensures income-based pricing and access for all - regardless of ability to pay. Learn more online.
FULL EVENT PARTNER LIST
The following organizations have contributed to the LN esports Tournament in various ways including financial contributions, expertise, and donations - Bridges and Wings, Cablecom, Inc., CLX Gaming, Coney Island Hot Weiners, Coonrod & Associates, Cox Business, Digital Office Systems, Headshots Bar and Grill, Henry Helgerson Company, Kent AV, Meritrust Bank, Midwest Esports, Next LED, Red Steer Farm, Technology Group Solutions, Weber and Associates, Wichita Wagonmasters, and WSU Esports.
Spokespeople – including partner representatives – are available upon request.