“There wasn’t a lot of other choices out there for people to go to instead,” NNSR Director Brian Sundeen said. “I really wanted to be able to continue to offer that for those who wanted it. I worked at the old Y and I had fun doing it and met a lot of really neat people running the leagues. I wanted to find a way to be able to keep offering that so we decided we were going to keep on doing something similar but different from what people know, so now we have Northern Nevada Sports and Recreation.”
While the NNSR will be offering some new activities, the location will be quite familiar to those who were a part of the former YMCA as the NNSR will be sharing the same location that the YMCA once did on Baring Boulevard along with Excel Christian School.
“Luckily, with Excel Christian School moving in here, they gave me a call and said ‘Hey, we’re moving into the old building over there on Baring, would you be interested?’ and I told them absolutely,” Sundeen said. “Obviously we’re renting, but hopefully we’ll be a part of bringing this piece of property back to vibrancy because it’s been going downhill in regards to how it’s been taken care of for a long time.
“We want to be a part of making this piece of property and this building not go vacant and we want to work together as opposed to us just looking at ourselves as someone renting from them. We look at ourselves as a part of the solution to make this whole thing here at Excel a success. They’re excited and we’re excited.”
That enthusiasm and commitment is what led the NNSR to its existence last November.
“We just started and jumped right into winter youth basketball and had a good season there.” Sundeen said. “Now we’re just getting ready for everything down the road. From what we came from to what we have now, it’s just been exciting. We’re taking it one step at a time and trying to do it the right way and make sure that we can operate as an organization and be successful so we can continue to operate new programs in an effort to bring new stuff to the community that hopefully it can get excited about.
“We want to get adults and kids, everyone, involved. From three-year-olds all the way to as old as you want to be. Our goal is to provide opportunities, sports and otherwise, for anybody and everybody. From our pee-wee sports to our adult sports, we want to catch everybody in there. We’re here to offer stuff that people can use as a part of a healthy lifestyle and to get out there, run around and have fun. Whatever it is, we’re going to offer something that people can enjoy and have a great time doing.”
Part of what the NNSR is eager to offer the younger portion of those in the community is its weekly summer camps.
“One of the things we’re doing is a program called ‘Around the World’ where every week we will in theory visit a different country,” Taylor Lander, who is in charge of childcare and camps, said. “I’m kind of tricking the kids into learning this year. Our first week is China so we’re doing fortune cookies for our cooking activity and then we are doing these really cool Chinese dragon magnets. We’ll be learning about the Great Wall of China. It’s going to be fun. We’re going on field trips. We’re going swimming, and we’re going to the parks. We’re not babysitting. It’s going to actually enrich the kids’ minds.”
The camps will be much more than geography lessons though.
“I want them to learn about different cultures and to know that things don’t work the same way as they do here,” Lander said. “Everybody is different and I want them to have fun with that. Beyond that, I want them to form a bond with the staff and have that role model. I want them to have somebody that they can go to if they need help with something or if they are having a bad day.”
If all goes according to plan for the NNSR, the atmosphere it is providing will lead to more members.
“People are slowly starting to find out about us,” Sundeen said. “I think when they know that we’re doing camps here at this location, because it is a great location, I think we’ll start to see more people sign up. Once people are in the summer camps, they’ll love it. Kids are going to come here and have fun, but whether they know it or not, they’re going to learn something and walk away with something. The kids will be in a safe place learning and having a good time.”