Friday, January 10, 2014

The Y Welcomes Youth Sports Coach, Ben Silliman

                The Middlesex Y’s youth sports program has been going strong for the past 13 years.  This pattern is sure to continue with the welcoming of our new youth sports coach, Ben Silliman. Ben earned his degree in Health and Physical Education from Springfield College and undertook internships in phys. ed. at Zanetti Montessori School in Springfield and Enrico Fermi High School formerly of Enfield.  Coach Ben has also ventured abroad to further his experience working with kids. During his time in Kazakhstan, Ben taught English to children in Kindergarten up to 18 years of age. This included helping the younger kids write to pen pals in English as well as facilitating English social clubs for the older kids. Ben also utilized his knowledge of physical education, in Kazakhstan, with his leadership at a soccer camp where he had kids practice drills and then hold discussions about their game play in English. Ben also spent time living in China, where he taught English to kids as young as two. Ben talks about his experiences,

                “Children in other parts of the world are just like kids in the United states. They want to have fun and be able to accomplish tasks in a fun way. It’s all about helping them achieve goals and outcomes while fostering the excitement that every parent wants to see in their child.” Ben mentions the many benefits of youth sports including confidence bolstering and advancement of interpersonal skills. Ben points out,

“Building relationships can be hard for some kids, especially without a common interest.” Not only does the Y’s youth sports program provide that common interest for kids to come together around, it also teaches certain skills that allow them to socialize easier and meet new friends. Ben says that he is a big high-five guy. He gives the kids high-fives of reassurance but also encourages them to give each other high-fives.

“Interaction between the kids is just as important as my interaction with them. That seemingly insignificant moment of a high-five can help form a connection between kids.”

                Ben is not new to the Y. He has been a part of the Middlesex Y’s affiliated Camp Ingersoll in Portland for 13 years serving as a lifeguard, swim instructor, boating director, and specialty camp coordinator. As Assistant Youth and Camp Director, Ben supervised and developed curriculum for all of the specialty camps at Ingersoll including Soccer, Mega Sports, Mega Fort Building, Dance, and Fishing.   Ben says that he really focused in on designing programs around sequential learning, using a progressive curriculum that introduced new skills at regular intervals. Ben also worked with rental groups at YMCA Camp Ingersoll, facilitating many ice breakers as well as team building activities on the camp’s ropes course.

                Youth Sports at the Middlesex Y is a great program for building your child’s confidence and social skills and of course, is a fun way for your child to be active! There are two, five-week sessions of youth sports this winter. The first is already underway and ends on February 1st, but you can still sign your child up and receive a discounted admission cost. This session’s sports are, Parent and Me Soccer, for age 3 years-old, Pee Wee Soccer, for ages 4 and 5, and Pee Wee Kickball, for ages 4 and 5. The second round starts February 2nd and runs through March 8th and includes, Parent and Me Basketball, for ages 3 years, Pee Wee Floor Hockey, ages 4 and 5 years, and the Sports Spectacular, for ages 5 and 6 years, which includes a variety of sports such as T-ball, soccer, basketball, hockey, and more.

                To register today or for more info, contact Ben Silliman at 860-343-6239 or, or stop by the Y at 99 Union St. in Middletown. Also, check us out on Facebook and at


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