Friday, July 24, 2009
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Ready for some football? YMCA expanding flag football for youngsters

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[July 24, 2009]  The YMCA is announcing some exciting news about their Chad Burnham Flag Football for 2009. The program originally was for boys and girls from 4 years old through second grade. This year the Y wants to extend the age limit all the way up to sixth-graders.

The program named after Chad Burnham, a young man who tragically lost his life, has always been a hit with tots, and Michael Lennen, the YMCA sports and aquatics director, feels that offering the program to more area youth would be a fitting tribute to Burnham, who was instrumental in getting the original program started.

In this recreational league, the participants are going to learn basic football fundamentals and strategies while playing games, meeting new friends and having lots of fun. The youngsters will get six weeks of games, all played locally at the YMCA Activity Center's field, 719 Wyatt Ave. in Lincoln, and there will be one practice per week with volunteer coaches. Custom-made T-shirts that will be given to each participant at the end of the season are included for one low cost.

The teams will be broken into three age groups: 4 years to kindergarten, first to third grade and fourth to sixth grade.

The two younger groups will play on a 70-by-20-yard field and the older group on an 80-by-40-yard playing surface.

Lennen said the decision to expand the ages for flag football didn't come easily, and he waited until the last minute before going ahead with the expanded program. He said a conversation with Joel Vinson, a dear friend of Burnham, convinced him of the need for a program such as this for kids up to sixth grade who want to play in a rec league rather than a tackle league.

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The league is set to start games on Aug. 8. The Y will accept registrations up to July 31.

Lennen says he will have to find coaches, separate the teams and begin practices before the season starts. He will be assisted by his intern, former Railer Eric Young.

The program is funded through memorials from the Chad Burnham family and from Joe Ryan at Country Companies.

For more information on enrolling your youngster, volunteering to coach or if you have refereeing experience and want to volunteer, you can call the YMCA at 735-3915.

[Text from file received from Michael Lennen, Lincoln Area YMCA; LDN]

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