CONTACT: Liam McIlroy, 313-802-0136
Yvette Bass, 313-264-1414, chandlerparkconservancyinfo@
Alex Allen, 313-264-1415, aallen@
Chandler Park Conservancy Announces Lacrosse is coming to Chandler Park!
The Chandler Park Conservancy is launching the inaugural season of “Play Lacrosse” with the introduction of the Detroit Youth Lacrosse Association (DYLA). The DYLA is a newly formed youth serving organization created by the Chandler Park Conservancy to support the health and well-being of Detroit youth and introduce them to the elite game of Lacrosse. The Detroit Youth Lacrosse Association’s mission is to cultivate the resiliency of our children and empower them through mentorship and coaching to pursue academic, athletic, and community-centered excellence while fueling the growth of lacrosse amongst children of color, their families, and the community at-large.
DYLA is having open registration for youth 7 to 12 years old to learn and play lacrosse this spring and summer. Youth will practice/play three days a week starting April 10th at Chandler Park in Detroit, MI, 12200 Chandler Park Drive. Instructional clinics will be held in April and May and organized games will begin in June and go through July. Equipment will be provided.
Registration is open now, you can register online at detroitlacrosse.org, contact our office at 313-264-1414 or send an email to chandlerparkconservancyinfo@
gmail.com. Registration fee is $20.00, however financial assistance is available. Interested parents and youth are encouraged to attend the presentation and orientation on Monday, April 9th at 5:00 to 8:00pm, at the Chandler Park Conservancy office, 4401 Conner, Detroit, MI 48215.
According to the Wall Street Journal dated May of 2015, the rate of participation in traditional team sports has fallen in the early elementary demographic. The same kids always get to play and other kids don’t get a chance to participate. In urban communities that are predominantly African American and Latino, most kids play football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. However, across the country the number of children opting to play lacrosse has grown exponentially in the last decade. Lacrosse is a sport that is played by men, women, and children, which adds to the popularity of the game. Lacrosse has various types of play. According to the NCAA, lacrosse is the fastest growing sport, with more than 36,000 athletes playing at the college level.
However, lacrosse in urban communities is not growing as fast. There are several reasons why. 1) Youth have not been exposed to the game, most local public schools don’t have a team to peak their interest. 2) The cost to suit one lacrosse player is more than $300, which could be a barrier for most families. 3) Perception that lacrosse is a sport for the elite. Families that have been exposed to lacrosse have seen it in private schools or in affluent communities and feel it’s not for them. 4) Almost nonexistent access to role models or players of color that play lacrosse.
Alex J. Allen, IV, the inspiration for the DLYA lacrosse program explains, “Growing up playing lacrosse, in most cases, I was the only African-American kid on the team. My thoughts were, this is a great game more kids of color show be playing lacrosse. After playing lacrosse in high school, I made a commitment to expose more children of color to lacrosse.” DYLA lead organizer, Liam McIlroy shares these sentiments, adding, “Give a child lacrosse, watch it change their lives. If that child is from Detroit, watch them change the world”.
Lacrosse blends the speed and physicality of football and rugby with the creativity, flow, and strategy of soccer, hockey, and basketball. Recognized as the oldest sport in America, lacrosse was created by the Native Americans, adopted by the French and modernized by Canadians. Lacrosse is fast, lacrosse is tough, but most importantly lacrosse is FUN, and it’s long overdue that the youth of Detroit had access to such a transformative game. Even though lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the world, with over 609 Collegiate Varsity programs and representation on 6 continents, never before has there been a youth lacrosse program in the city of Detroit—until now!
We encourage all members of all Detroit neighborhoods to get active and participate in our programming. DYLA will need volunteers to help coach, referee and offer support. We believe in the importance of civic engagement, so the more community members that can engage with our young athletes, the more cohesive cultural dynamic will be created. For more information and to volunteer contact us at 313-264-1414 or email us at chandlerparkconservancyinfo@
This program is made possible in part through a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The Chandler Park Conservancy is a Michigan non-profit corporation, formed in 2014 by the Chandler Park Promise Coalition, a project of the Eastside Community Network. The mission of the Conservancy is to develop exceptional educational, recreational and conservation opportunities for youth and their families on Detroit’s eastside and the region at Chandler Park.