BERLIN- The Beach Lacrosse program turns 20 this year and will celebrate two decades of providing opportunities for young players in Worcester County and the lower shore, many of whom have gone on to achieve great success in the sport at higher levels.
Beach Lacrosse is the original youth lacrosse program in Worcester and was founded in 1994. The program provided the very first spring season of organized youth recreational lacrosse on the lower Eastern Shore. Two decades later, the program is now over 300 players strong with kids playing organized lacrosse from pre-K through the eighth grade.
The non-profit public organization’s mission is to provide area youth with the opportunity to experience the oldest sport native to North America in a sportsman-like manner. Again this spring, Beach Lacrosse will field multiple teams for both boys and girls including under-9, under-11, under-13 and under-15. For young players in pre-K or kindergarten who are just starting out, Beach Lacrosse offers a Scoopers Program for both boys and girls.
Beach Lacrosse Commissioner Tim Gilbert was one of the founding members of the program, along with others including Joe Dougherty, John Rogers and Joe Mulford, to name a few. Gilbert said this week the idea was borne out a desire of a handful of former lacrosse players and enthusiasts from the tradition-rich Baltimore area to afford the same opportunities to their children.
“We didn’t really know what to expect or what would come of it way back then,” he said. “What we did know is that we had our own kids coming of age that wanted to play lacrosse, but there really wasn’t an opportunity on the shore.”
Gilbert said many of those early Beach Lacrosse players went on to achieve great success in the sport at the highest levels, including a few All-Americans at Division I and III college programs and a handful of team captains. While some of those early players have returned to share their knowledge with the next generation of young players, there hasn’t been a second generation players yet.
“The next generation is not there yet,” he said. “Some of our former players have reached the point in their lives where they’re settling down and starting to raise families, but we haven’t had a second generation player yet.”
However, many of those same early Beach Lacrosse players have returned to the area and Gilbert and some of the other founding members interact with them socially from time to time.
“One of the greatest pleasures in all of this is visiting with some of those kids from 20 years ago,” he said. “They all have fond memories and often tell me how it was such a fun time in their lives and in the sport. That’s the big payoff.”
Beach Lacrosse is a member of the Eastern Shore Youth Lacrosse Association and plays teams from across the shore including Salisbury, Cambridge, Easton, Kent Island, Denton, Lewes and Camden. All practices and home games are played at the Northern Worcester County Athletic Complex in Berlin. Practice begins in March with games played on Saturdays starting March 23.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Beach Lacrosse will host a fundraiser at the Cork Bar and Grill on Wicomico Street on February 8. The fundraiser will support new equipment purchases for the upcoming season.
Registration for the 2013 season is now open. To register, visit www.beachlax.org. Beach Lacrosse also financial assistance for registration fees to anyone in need. In addition, Beach Lacrosse is actively seeking volunteer coaching assistance at all age group levels as well as volunteers for various activities that support the club. Those who would like to volunteer or have any questions are directed to contact the club via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.