New Horizons Lacrosse
2017 NCYS STRIVE Award Finalist

Austin, Texas

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"Respect the Game and Each Other, Be Eagle Ready!"

New Horizons Lacrosse is a "micro" non-profit that seeks to diversify the local lacrosse community by inclusion of the under-served community in the most economically segregated large city in the USA. We are gender-neutral and promote participation of both boys and girls. We subscribe to best practices from national sports standards that help us to focus on proper balance between competitive outcomes and participation, fun, and camaraderie. We engage in the governance of local leagues in order to help assure appropriate competition and physical contact within our leagues. We have served roughly 500 students this year, are active in seven Austin schools, and have supported inner-city programs in San Antonio and Houston.

Our philosophy toward safety is to offer adult guidance and oversight that empowers young people to make good decisions and take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. Safety is integrated into the daily routine for teams. Hydration and First Aid supplies are part of our team equipment for which the team is responsible for making available. Players are also responsible for checking role, as well as getting and distributing daily after-school nutrition.

Adults mitigate concussion by encouraging age-appropriate physical contact and by providing proper playing environments, state-of-the-art mouth guards, and proper head protection. AEDs are available for all practices and games. Fruit is routinely provided for energy at games. An emergency evacuation plan is in place; both flash-to-bang protocol and weather apps are used to monitor lightning and severe weather. Our equipment is team equipment and is constantly reviewed for need of repair or retirement. Equipment replacement is part of the annual operations.

We believe that our organization is most efficient in accomplishing our goals when we limit duplication of effort and when we leverage existing resources and collaborate when we can. Many of our families do not have internet in their homes relying on us to communicate with them through group text apps to be engaged with us regarding their student on a regular and routine basis. Even though lacrosse is a club sport, we partner with Austin Independent School District to provide safe bus transportation to our away games and to get our students home after practices. They also help monitor and collaborate with us regarding academics and discipline issues such as bullying and truancy. Our partner, After-School Centers for Education, provides federally-funded after-school nutrition. Both organizations provide background checking for our coaches and volunteers. U.S. Lacrosse regularly provides age-appropriate equipment and coach training/certification. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation and it is critical to our program that U.S. Lacrosse also provides access to low-cost liability and accident insurance. Austin Parks and Recreation Department provides well-maintained playing space at no cost. Finally, we are sponsored by SISU who provides our players with state-of-the-art mouth guards.

We believe that we have assembled a GREAT team that allows our youth to engage with the oldest sport in America in a way that also supports the wellbeing of each student and their family.

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"Respect the Game and Each Other, Be Eagle Ready!"

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