USA news March 24, 2011

America's first ever National Youth Cricket Day

The upstart US Youth Cricket Association is designating March 24, 2011, as America's first ever National Youth Cricket Day. USYCA President Jamie Harrison is hoping that the date will spur more awareness for cricket at the grassroots level.

"We're having a photo contest where we're giving away a cricket set to the school or teacher who submits the photo that best exemplifies the ideals of US Youth Cricket's Schools Program," Harrison said. "We're just encouraging our affiliates and our volunteers to just make an extra effort to do something for National Youth Cricket Day.

"We understand this is the first National Youth Cricket Day ever so people aren't used to planning an event to coincide with it, but we have to begin somewhere. Sometimes it's good just to have a place to start and this year is the place to start."

The ICC recently honored the USYCA with an ICC Americas Development Program award for the 'Best Junior Participation Initiative' for its Schools Program. It's an impressive achievement for an organization that has been in existence for less than a year. The USYCA has been responsible for donating hundreds of start-up cricket kits to physical education teachers for use in schools across America.

"The USA Cricket Association applauds the role the USYCA is playing in focusing on the grassroots enthusiasm of youth cricket through the designation of 'National Youth Cricket Day,'" USACA Secretary John Aaron said via email. "As a largely volunteer organization, USA Cricket is appreciative of the enormous potential for the growth of cricket at the youth levels, and through the efforts of such organizations as the USYCA."

Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey