TOP Soccer attracts scores of players

HOOD RIVER — Few people unfamiliar with soccer realize how unifying and edifying the game can be — especially for young children. But the word is quickly getting out.

TOP Soccer, a local soccer program designed to provide a positive learning environment for children with special needs, just completed its third season on Monday at Hood River Middle School.

The unfortunate thing is, no one who participated is ready for it to be over yet.

“I love two things,” 6-year-old Savannah Graham said. “Animals and sports. And soccer is already one of my favorites.”

Graham, a first grader at Horizon Christian School, has been participating in TOP Soccer since last year and has every intention to continue learning.

“My dad and my friend Maggie like to play, so I thought I would try it, too,” she said.

Graham’s mother Amy has been very pleased with the program and is behind it 100 percent.

“Being on a team means so much to Savannah,” Amy said. “She is so proud to be on a team and can’t stop talking about it.”

But Graham and the other young players aren’t the only ones who have benefitted. Youth coaches like Paul Brown are also taking away positive experiences.

“It feels really good to help these kids,” said the first-year volunteer. “I’ve been lucky enough to play sports my whole life and I want make sports

enjoyable for these kids, too.”

Program coordinator Roxanne McClure helped organize TOP Soccer for that very reason.

“It’s been fun to see how much the kids have progressed,” she said. “Not just the kids on the team, but the teenage coaches have grown a lot as well.”

McClure’s two kids, Matt and Lindsay, also helped out this year, along with 15-20 other high school and middle school students. She said the one-on-one experience has been very rewarding and she hopes to have a similar turnout this summer.

Practices will be held the last Monday of June, July and August at the HRMS athletic field. For more information or to get involved, call McClure at 387-3012. The program is co-sponsored by the Oregon Youth Soccer Association and Uniroyal Tires.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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