Sam and Tanya L.

Tom Taylor Family YMCA

Tanya knew her son Sam was behind in his development, but wasn't truly aware of how behind until he joined youth soccer at the Y. 

"So many times I wanted to quit, to not bring Sam to anymore practices and games because he wasn't ready, but I was between a rock and a hard place," said Tanya. "I felt for the kids and staff that they had to endure one team mate just not 'getting it' and really not building many skills, but I didn't want to set a precedence with Sam that he should give up when things got bad."

Sam loved going to soccer. So many times Sam would be off pacing a line on the floor or looking up at the ceiling, and staff would do everything they could to get Sam engaged in the game, with the other kids, learning teamwork and soccer skills.

"I felt self-conscious because nobody's child was doing these things, and I was sure there was some judgment from other parents, but I was assured that before and after game as well as during each time-out, I could see that Sam was being nurtured by someone who really has a way with leading, and more importantly, with leading children," said Tanya.

Now Sam is walking away from this experience having learned how to stick through it. "He may have not learned soccer skills," said Tanya. "But he was exposed to so many skills and better yet, he was exposed to a leader who showed that he valued him."