ST. CLOUD -- Despite the ups and downs brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many winter youth sports organizations were able to find away to salvage their season.

The St. Cloud Area Youth Basketball Association recently wrapped up their season. SCAYBA President Robyn Atkinson says despite all the obstacles they faced, this year showed how important youth sports are in the community.

We were getting messages on when was our in-house program starting, if we were going to have our annual tournament and not just from our community but other communities as well. So on some level I personally took that for granted in the past.

Atkinson says their board really came together this year to make sure the kids had a fun and memorable experience, while maintaining a strong focus on safety throughout the ongoing pandemic.

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Kyle Welch is a member of the St. Cloud Area Youth Basketball Association Board. He says one of the biggest challenges wasn't following health protocols within their organization, but rather making sure other youth organizations were following the same guidelines.

As we started to get some tournaments on board and things scheduled against other teams, you kind of realize not everyone have the same level of expectation and commitment.

Welch says as a whole, a vast majority of organizations were in compliance with the state guidelines, especially when it came to the tournaments.

Justin Skaalerud is the Boys Travel Director and Tournament Director. He says tournament host sites went above and beyond when it came to making sure coaches, players and fans felt safe.

When your game is over you exit and wait in the parking lot until your next game an hour or two later. Then they would text you when you could come back into the building and as you entered they were cleaning from the previous game. A lot of credit to the youth basketball community to be able to pull this off.

The SCAYBA board says they were thankful to be able to have a full season for their players to enjoy and hope for a more normal looking season next year.


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