BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Athletic Association kicked off a new tradition Sunday, aimed at getting kids hooked on athletics.

Some took a running leap into the sand pit.

Some sprinted across the finish line.

Indeed, many of the events tucked inside Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis Center looked like track and field — while others more like child’s play.

“Well, it’s fun and it makes me feel happy,” Ty Davis said.

But all the kids got the same encouragement from some big names — like women’s marathon pioneer Marilyn Bevans.

baa BAA Launches Youth Jamboree For Local Children

Some of the participants in Sunday’s BAA Youth Jamboree. (WBZ-TV)

“It’s something that somebody can be successful in. So, that’s a great thing to teach children early. Just to be involved. Everybody’s not going to be an Olympic champion, but everybody can be fit and that’s important,” Bevans said.

In fact, that’s the goal of the BAA’s first-ever Youth Jamboree, to get city kids — both able-bodied and physically challenged — to discover the joy of athletics.

“So to give these kids in this neighborhood a chance to get out to engage in some healthy activities and to meet some role models that can inspire them in the future,” the BAA’s Tom Grilk said.

And with that in mind, kids from kindergarten through eighth grade swarmed the track Sunday to try their hand at a myriad of things — including sportmanship.

“Just stick with it, have fun as always and don’t give up,” Katherine Keating said.

Good advice at any age, but especially important for youngsters forming lifetime habits — which their mentors for the day hope include sports — even as they urge balance.

“So just try to be steady with it, find something you enjoy, make it part of your life,” Bevans said.


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