The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

January 26, 2013

Breaking the cycle: SIXERinc program offers sports, future to area teens

(Continued)

PALESTINE — THE FUTURE

Cary wants nothing more than for SIXERinc to continue growing, and he’s got ambitious plans to make that happen.

He and his partners want to add 20 to 25 more youngsters to the program this summer. Currently, SIXERS basketball is made up of only one team — varsity boys. Cary would like to see that expand to include a varsity (high school age) girls squad as well as a junior varsity (middle school age) boys squad.

Each team would get to travel to tournaments and, in the process, visit colleges and organizations. They would also engage in community service projects.

That won’t be easy. Currently, playing for the SIXERS is free for participants, thanks to donations.

The cost for each player to be in the program is about $600, meaning that adding an additional 20 participants would cost $12,000.

But, with the help of parents that he calls the “backbone of the program,” Cary is confident he can make it happen.

“Kids are going to be kids and really don’t understand the business, but they’ll start to understand more,” he said. “The parents are the people driving this. They’re helping us raise the money and talking to friends about it. You’d be surprised how many people travel to our games.”

He also knows that there are people that believe in his vision, even if they’re not directly affected by it.

Cary knows that because he’s seen it, in the form of a family who wanted to remain unnamed, that gave what Cary called a “generous” donation to the program despite having no ties to SIXERinc.

“They believe like me that in order to make a change, we should invest in our future by investing in our youth,” Cary said. “I think about them almost every day as well as the many other families and businesses in Palestine that have supported SIXERinc.”

Cary hopes to be able to connect his program with local schools and churches, so that its tenants are being taught year-round.

“What I envision for SIXERinc is being an organization that ties it all together,” he said. “Tie in the relationship with the schools, with the YMCA, with churches and with the families.

“During the fall, (the kids) have stuff to do. But in June, July and August, I want this to be a program and organization that we can come together and talk about how we affect the youth.”

He’s already built up strong relationships with local basketball coaches like Palestine’s Bret Botard and Westwood’s Scott Nettles, both of whom help coach at the program’s annual coaches clinic.

“Those relationships are kind of the driver of us growing, in addition to the parents,” he said. “We don’t have a facility and don’t have the access that those guys do.”

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