HELENA — Volunteer ambassadors from the United States Pickleball Association and the Kay’s Kids Program got together at Barney Park on July 18 to teach kids about the sport of pickleball.
The Kay’s Kids program and the city of Helena host recreation days where kids do outdoor activities like swimming, gardening, and sports like pickleball, all free of charge. The program, though, wouldn’t be where it’s at without the help of Volunteers.
“People were more than willing to help, and they find it important that kids in this community get to enjoy it and learn about it,” said Kait Perrodin, the aquatics and recreation director for Helena. “Everybody is looking out for each other.”
Pickleball is played on a court like tennis, but it also takes some of its characteristics from table tennis, and is played by people of all ages.
According to a report by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, from 2016 to 2017 the sport grew by 12 person to more than 3.1 million players. The ambassadors for the USAPA were at Thursday’s event partially to help grow the game, but it was also a good opportunity to get more kids outside playing.
“(Pickleball) gets them playing, it gets them outside. You don’t want them sitting around watching television or just playing video games; you want them to be active. The only way you’re going to be active is to get outside,” said Keith Laululaau.
“Any kid can play this, and that’s why I think it’s important to get kids out and get them active … and it’s fun,” said John Dayton.