The Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Summer Games concluded Aug. 4 with about 1,500 children competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in street games at the Final Event. In between sporting events, the children learned about science, career opportunities, and health and fitness at the Bright Futures Fair.
The Final Event at NRG Arena capped a summer of sporting events that also included the 3-on-3 Basketball Championship Tournament and the Splashdown swim meet for the Harris County Aquatics Program’s (HCAP) Learn-to-Swim students.
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, speaking at the VIP Breakfast before the competition, said the Street Olympics program “really teaches our children about the game of life and how to win – and lose – with dignity.”
The Street Olympics is not just about sports and winning. Its mission is to implement and sustain programs that provide training, support and resources that lead to healthy and productive lives for Houston-area youth.
In addition to the Summer Games, there are year-round programs that include HCAP’s Learn-to-Swim, the Discovery Camp/Traveling Naturalist Program that educates youth on the environment and the Northeast Adolescent Program that offers health clinics for teens and young adults.
Every August, the Street Olympics hosts the Final Event, which features children ages 6-15 competing in 12 sporting events such as jacks, Hula Hoop, jump rope, softball throw, foot races, hopscotch and chess. The top three winners in each event receive gold, silver and bronze medals.
The year’s competition began with the Parade of Champions, which resembles the Olympics Closing Ceremonies, with high school marching bands leading the youth, who marched into the arena carrying banners representing their centers.
Throughout the summer, about 4,000 athletes at 90 participating agency sites practiced and competed to represent their youth centers at the Final Event.
“We’re trying to mold the next generation of leaders for our city, our county, our state and our nation,” Commissioner Ellis said.
Aniyah Jones, 13, who competed in basketball free throw for Stude Community Center, didn’t win a medal but she learned a lot from her experience and her visit to the Bright Futures Fair.
“It was fun to compete,” Aniyah said. “It was competitive and it made me work harder to compete against other people. I learned new things at the fair.”
Marisol Garcia, 12, with the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, didn’t participate in the sports. However, she toured the Bright Futures Fair.
“I enjoyed CenterPoint Energy station where they gave you lollipops and popsicles and they taught you how to save energy and gas. I like the (Harris County Precinct One horticulture) plant station. I got two plants.”