Sports Smorgasbord

Kraken and One Roof Foundation join third annual sports sampling camp introduces multiple sports activities to underserved youth as part of King County Play Equity Coalition — by Bob Condor

There are many impressive features of the third annual King County Play Equity Coalition’s sports sampling camp unfolding this week at King County’s Skyway Park, south of Seattle. None more compelling than affording kids from the Skyway neighborhood the fun, free and full-schedule opportunity to try different athletic pursuits with local professional teams plus national leading organizations in other sports.

The sports include street hockey with the Kraken staging a Monday session and returning Friday to be part of a jamboree for the kids to get a second chance at stickhandling and scoring, along with soccer, rugby, ultimate frisbee, football, rowing, baseball, basketball, golf and tennis. The Seattle Storm’s dance troupe introduced another physical activity option (and a popular one).

kids playing street hockey

Upower joined the camp day, furthering its credo to increase physical activity among King County youth. Just as impressive: Plenty of role models for girls and boys who can benefit from physical activity and mastering a sport with the Sounders and OL Reign putting on separate soccer sessions, the Seattle Tempest women’s pro Ultimate team and Seattle Cascade men’s pro franchise joining to introduce a fast-growing sport plus George Pocock Rowing, First Tee (golf) and the Seattle Tennis Association all making a case for gender equity as well as play equity for those sports. By week’s end, the Mariners, Storm and Seahawks also pitched in with clinics.

It all starts with the King County Play Equity Coalition carrying out a vision and mission crafted in a current four-year plan (2021 to 2024) to elevate the number of King County girls and boys who are physically active. The coalition has charted the only 19 percent of King County youth (one in five kids) get the recommended amount of physical activity per national health and fitness experts.

marshawn lynch playing street hockey with kids

The KCPEC vision aspires to “a King County where all youth – and particularly youth from historically underserved groups – experience the transformative benefits of play, sports, outdoor recreation and physical activity.” The coalition’s network of member organizations are “dedicated to challenging and changing systems to shift power and center physical activity as a key part of health and youth development.”

The Kraken and the One Roof Foundation (the philanthropic arm of the team and Climate Pledge Arena) are all-in on that concept. Same for former Seahawks great and Kraken minority owner Marshawn Lynch, who surprised the campers and played street hockey with them Monday.

kids playing street hockey

“I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives.” said Andrew Bloom, Kraken social impact manager and leader of the sports sampling camp. “A few of them couldn’t believe it was really him and suggested it might be a ‘fake’ Marshawn.”  

Bloom said the team unveiled new street hockey goals this spring at Skyway Park and that they are seeing lots of use from members within the community. The clinic was able to utilize these new goals and expose more kids in the neighborhood to the multisport options in their own backyard.