Over all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage, community members gathered and socialized to support an organization whose mission to serve the area’s young people is encapsulated in its simple name: Seaside Kids, Inc.
The organization has been furthering said mission for more than 60 years by providing healthy, wholesome athletic activities to more than 600 local kids annually. Doing so is made possible because of one important factor, according to board member John Morris: “The community really supports us.”
That was evident during the Seaside Kids’ annual Pancake and Sausage Feed, held the evening of Oct. 17, when more than 400 people filtered through the Seaside Civic and Convention Center to partake in one of the organization’s longstanding fundraising traditions.
Throughout the event, volunteers plated the breakfast-turned-dinner items, which were prepared by Oregon Fine Foods, and young football players dressed in their game jerseys filled attendees’ water cups and cleared used plates and napkins off tables.
Seaside Kids’ priority is providing free athletic opportunities to children, primarily from Seaside, Gearhart, Cannon Beach and, less frequently, Warrenton, Jewell and Astoria, according to Morris. The families don’t pay for equipment or uniforms, which is possible because of sponsorships, donations from businesses and fraternal organizations, and fundraisers, such as the pancake feed. The group leases the Sons of Norway field off U.S. Highway 101, between Seaside and Gearhart.
The organization currently offers 3rd/4th-grade and 5th/6th-grade football; co-ed T-ball; girls’ softball; and boys’ baseball programs, in addition to sponsoring free swim sessions at the Sunset Pool and other occasional activities.
Past programs, however, have included bowling, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, volleyball, golf and track. Individual activities or programs may come and go through the years because they depend on having interested adults willing to provide the necessary leadership and organization to sustain them, Morris said. In general, parents are an integral aspect of the organization’s success. They serve as coaches, and their degree of involvement often affects the positive outcomes for the children.
Each athletic program emphasizes development of fundamental skills related to the respective sport, but coaches also are intentional about cultivating other life skills, such as self-confidence, teamwork, communication and good sportsmanship, to promote the Seaside Kids’ motto: “Active youth today, active leaders tomorrow.”
Morris can vouch for that motto. He played in Seaside Kids programs while in elementary school, took a turn coaching in the past and has served on the board about 20 years. In his experience, “a lot of kids that go through the program go on to become really good citizens and leaders,” he said.
Because Seaside Kids is operated and sustained entirely by volunteers, there are plenty of ways to get involved: coaching, umpiring, field preparation and/or concessions. For more information, visit seasidekidsinc.wixsite.com/seasidekids or email firstname.lastname@example.org.