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BOULDER – In partnership with the YMCA of Boulder Valley, University of Colorado Athletics is pleased to announce the additions of tennis, golf, and lacrosse to the quickly growing Jr. Buffs Sports Program.

The Boulder Valley YMCA values and supports youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. It is a non-profit organization with two facilities located in Boulder and nearby Lafayette, respectively.

A collaborative effort, the Jr. Buffs Program helps to expand and support YMCA youth sports locally while providing positive exposure for CU Athletics.

Currently, there are four sports available in the Jr. Buffs program for kids ages 3-12. These include flag football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. This summer will see that increase to seven overall with the addition of tennis, golf, and lacrosse. To date, there are 4,800 young athletes participating in a program that has been highlight for the community.

Jackson Dreiling, Senior Sports Director for the Boulder Valley YMCA sees the additions as a natural progression and expansion of the program.

“We wanted to make sure that every intercollegiate sport that CU has needs to be aligned with what the Y has.  We started with flag football, basketball, soccer, and just a few years ago, volleyball.  And CU just added lacrosse this year, which we are adding.

“We’re just making sure we’re merging everything.  Everything CU has, we’re going to have as a Jr. Buff sport.”

Yet with all the talk of growth, there is nothing more significant than kids getting active and building good, lasting habits.  Dreiling believes this to be the most crucial element of all.

“Most importantly, they are active and participating in constructive activities, which is healthy and through that, developing good people.  We’re creating healthy, active, lifelong Buff fans.  That’s what we’re really excited about.”

There are plenty of added perks for participants and their parents too, such as special deals for CU sporting events. For example, all Jr. Buffs flag football players will receive a complimentary football ticket as well as an opportunity to be on the field pregame to watch the Buffs practice and take pictures.

It also doesn’t hurt that the kids get to hang out with CU student-athletes. And for the athletes, it’s just one way they can give back to the community. 

CU Athletics has been involved with the Boulder Valley YMCA in the Jr. Buff partnership since 2007. In 2011, CU’s involvement and commitment increased to new heights with the addition of financial support, branding, marketing, and promotional opportunities.  Additional facility branding initiatives are also on the horizon.

For the two organizations, it was an easy decision to work together.

“The number one goal for both is to strengthen the community and beyond that, we’re really trying to promote CU Athletics, to promote Y programming, in hopes of keeping kids and families healthy and involved.  I see this as a no-brainer partnership.  It’s taken some time, but with [CU Athletic Director] Mike [Bohn] on our board, it’s helped a lot,” Dreiling said.

Bohn agrees: “We are thrilled to strengthen our partnership with the YMCA Jr. Buffs program and the YMCA of Boulder Valley. We recognize the energy and passion that youth sports bring to the community and we are proud to play a role in youth development initiatives. 

“The addition of tennis, golf and lacrosse to the YMCA Jr. Buffs family will further increase opportunities for youth sports participation and is a tremendous testament to the strong foundation that YMCA of Boulder Valley has built since the inception of the Jr. Buffs program.” 

At the end of the day, what really matters is improving the community and the world we live in.

“CU Athletics is growing and continuing to move towards what it has become in the last few years – the highlight of our community,” Dreiling said.

“That’s only going to benefit and improve our entire community and this partnership is only going to further that. When two great organizations are working together for the purposes of keeping families engaged, people benefit and the organizations do as well. If [the Jr. Buffs] program grows, it only helps.”