Youth turn out for Dodgeball Tournament

Published 10:01 am Monday, May 2, 2022

Gather Community hosted event over the weekend


COLUMBUS – On Saturday afternoon, over forty kids showed up at Stearns Gym in Columbus, where they ducked, dived, and dodged their way to a great time. Together they competed in a Dodgeball Tournament hosted by Gather Community. 

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This local organization seeks to gather the community around its young people to give them a safe space to have fun and be competitive, a goal they accomplished Saturday. 


The nine teams of five competed in two brackets split between high school and middle school. They supplied the teams with red and blue jerseys and brightly colored non-sting balls designed specifically so no harm would come to the young competitors. While the volunteers refereed the game enforcing the rules, the contestants made their jobs easy, exemplifying the team spirit and camaraderie the game was constructed to inspire. And the participants were quick to promote Gather and future events. 


The organizer of the event, Steve Martinez, started the tournament off by going over the rules and then reminding all those in attendance that the kids of Polk County are truly loved by the community. Special thanks was given from the organizers to Polk County Parks & Recreation for partnering and promoting the event along with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina, Unity in the Community of the Foothills, Open Road Coffee, Food Lion, and all the amazing volunteers that made it possible. Gather Community hopes to put on more events in the future similar to this one and the Hoopz event held last Friday at Harmon Field. 


Steve brought Gather Community into existence in 2016. In 2021, he domesticated the nonprofit here in Polk County to run youth programming, and celebrated their first anniversary in April. Here they are in the process of building a volunteer and resource base and are always open to new connections and partnerships that will benefit our young people. If anyone wishes to partner or volunteer, they can do so by reaching out to Steve personally. They can also keep up with their future events by signing up for their newsletter, by visiting their website or following them on Facebook and Instagram @gatheryouthcommunity. 


Coverage of the recent Hoopz basketball tournament held at Harmon Field can be found here.