Niles superintendent speaks about child development through sports

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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NILES — The YMCA Youth Basketball League has been a slam dunk this year, according to organization leaders.

Along with fun and exercise it has been instrumental in child development throughout surrounding communities.

“Through these opportunities, young children learn the value of being a good teammate and how to make friends. This provides them with another opportunity to practice their socialization skills in a semi-structured environment. We are fortunate the YMCA offers this experience and surrounds the children with quality coaches who can direct them as they learn and grow,” said Dr. Dan Applegate, Superintendent of Niles Community Schools.

This year, Niles High School basketball players volunteered to help children learn and improve basketball skills, while working on their own development as players, students, and community contributors.

“First, I have to brag that we have phenomenal kids at our high school and across the district. I’m very proud of our kids and have a lot of faith in the future because of the respect, responsibility, and resiliency they show in their academic and extracurricular lives. Volunteering gives them an opportunity to transfer the leadership skills they learn playing for a school sponsored sport. This opportunity is an extension of their learning,” Dr. Applegate said.

The Niles-Buchanan YMCA and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA leagues finished their season while the YMCA South Bend league has one more game this Saturday, March 25.

For more information on YMCA Youth Sports visit