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Friday, August 12, 2022
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Off Monday, St. John Kids Get to Just Play

Kids ages 5 to 17 will take part in games from track and field to soccer Monday at the 5th annual Just Play Day at Winston Wells Ballfield on St. John. Registration is free.

“We want to make sure we have enough water bottles and shirts,” organizer Dean Doeling said, explaining the push for advance registration.

Monday is a day off from school for students across the territory for Columbus Day and U.S. Virgin Islands/Puerto Rico Friendship Day.

Things get rolling with sign in at 8:30 a.m. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch by Mathayom Private Chefs is included for all participants and volunteers.

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Doeling said Monday that so far, 50 youths and 30 volunteers signed up. There will be enough lunches and goody bags that include Nike products for 150 youths.

Kids will have fun in the 50-yard dash, a soccer relay, basketball shots, football throw and soccer kicks.

Doeling got the ball rolling on Just Play Day when he formed the non-profit Using Sport for Social Change to offer sports activities to St. John youths.

“A long time ago I saw a big sports need,” he said. An Oregon-based Nike employee, his first efforts involved getting soccer balls for the schools. That grew into “something much bigger” with Just Play Day.

Doeling said he plans to honor St. John student Charlie Palminteri and his mother, veterinarian Laura Palminteri, for their efforts in rehabilitating the field. Thanks to their work, it is now a field of grass instead of hard-packed dirt.

University of the Virgin Islands basketball coach Sean Georges will lead the youths in warmup exercises.

Brenda Reckor-Wallace will serve as moderator. DJ Adonis will provide music.

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