NENSA and the NEBKL
The New England Bill Koch Youth Ski League (NEBKYSL) is the largest, cross-country ski program for young people in the United States. Whether a child loves the adventure of cross-country skiing, of playing with friends on skis, or wants to grow up to be a ski racer, the New England Bill Koch League has something for him or her.
Bill Koch League Age Groups:
NENSA BKL Age Groups are classified by year in school.
Lollipop: Ages 0-7
U6: Ages 4-5: Grade PreK – K
U8: Ages 6-7: Grades 1 & 2
Junior 5 / (U10): Ages 8-9 Grades 3 & 4
Junior 4 / (U12): Ages 10-11 Grades 5 & 6
Junior 3 / (U14): Ages 12-13 Grades 7 & 8
NENSA is the parent organization of the New England Bill Koch League — Bill Koch League skiers are the youth skiers of NENSA. NENSA provides support for BKL members and club leaders in the form of annual membership benefits, the option to purchase club liability insurance, and a range of educational and competitive programs for individuals and clubs. BKL District Chairs form the BKL Committee of the NENSA Board. One of the members of the BKL Committee is a NENSA staff member oversees NENSA’s youth programming.
The mission of the New England Bill Koch League (NEBKL) is to introduce young people to the lifelong sport of cross-country skiing with all of its recreational, social, fitness, and competitive opportunities.
The Bill Koch League Teaching Philosophy
The New England Bill Koch League believes that children should have the opportunity to have fun while learning to cross-country ski. The NEBKL believes in creating a safe and healthy environment where children can develop physically, psychologically, and socially. All NEBKL activities and competitions are designed to teach each young athlete to participate to the best of his or her respective abilities.
Why join a Bill Koch League?
Now more than ever, Bill Koch Leagues are one of the most valuable ways to introduce youth to sport, a love of the outdoors and an outlet for play. Has anyone ever asked you why his or her child should join a BKL? Here are just a few reasons why they should join too:
Deliberate PLAY: At the heart of BKL’s are games, which is something that our youth does not get enough of anymore. Sports Psychologist Jean Cote says, “To promote lifelong, intrinsically motivated sport participation, it is imperative to build a foundation during childhood. Inclusion of high amounts of deliberate play actives early in development provides that motivational foundation.” Learning by doing is the primary teaching style of BKL’s, meaning your child will get a lot of deliberate PLAY time at a BKL practice!
Diversification: BKLs ensure that youth are multisport athletes, because skiing isn’t always available, practices are sometimes on foot, and there are 3 other seasons for youth to choose different sports. Research shows that early participant in multiple sports leads to better overall motor and athletic development, less overuse injuries and burnout, and kids will be more likely to play sports longer throughout life.
Healthy competition: All NEBKL activities and competitions are designed to teach each young athlete to participate to the best of his or her respective abilities. The focus of a BKL is always on what is best for your child, and when asked in surveys, 9 out of 10 kids says “FUN” is the main reason they participate in sports. Results and winning are often the priority of adults, while children mostly want a venue to try their best
Active for life: Joining a BKL means that you as a parent are often on skis or participating in some way. BKLs are focused on community and creating a lifelong love for being active outside. Skiing is a low impact sport that can be done for life.
Starting a Bill Koch Club
Creating something where nothing has existed is challenging. The Bill Koch League Parent Manual (email [email protected] for your copy) walks you step by step through the process of starting a Bill Koch League club. But you need to be aware that there is help available from a number of other resources as well.
Where To Get Help
The NENSA Administrative Office is a great general resource and should be your first call any time you have questions. The Operations Manager at the office can help you with club registration and membership. Mackenzie Rizio is the Youth & Introductory Program Director ([email protected]) and is on hand to supply you with contact information concerning the Chairperson for New England Bill Koch League, BKL District Chairs, and other BKL Club Leaders, along with basic advice such as how to timeline your start-up efforts with other clubs in region. Click here to find a listing of BKL District Chairs, BKL Club Leaders and Club Contacts.
New England Bill Koch League Personnel
The NEBKL is staffed by volunteers whose love for the sport has led them to work for its success. NEBKL is structured in this way:
• New England Bill Koch League Chairperson: heads the New England BKL Committee- Currently Kate Koch
• BKL District Chairpersons: constitute the BKL Committee and represent the clubs in their area.
The Districts in New England currently consist of:
Northeast Vermont – NEVT
Northwest Vermont – NWVT
Central Vermont- CEVT
Southern Vermont – SOVT
Eastern Massachusetts – EAMA
Western Massachusetts – WEMA
Northern Maine – NOME
Western/Central Maine – WEME
Southern Maine – SOME
Northern New Hampshire – NONH
Central New Hampshire – CENH
• BKL Club Leader: within each district there are a varying number of clubs. Each club has a club leader. The NENSA Office can send you contact information on all of the people listed above, including club leaders. Or you can find a list of Club leader contacts at the NENSA website. They will share their experiences with you and help you with any questions you might have.
The Role of The Club Leader
The BKL Club Leader plans, organizes, and directs BKL activities at the local, or club level. Skillful leaders appreciate the benefits of delegating responsibility, so not all of the tasks listed below need to be done directly by the leader him/herself— but all come under the broad job description of a BKL Club Leader:
• plans or supervises planning of indoor and outdoor activities of the club
• arranges the schedule and meeting place for club sessions
• involves and coordinates parent’s participation in the club
• supervises/assists with enrollment and registration at the local level
• registers club with NENSA
• provides liaison with District Chair and NEBKL Chairperson
• conducts and evaluates club sessions
• awards prizes or patches at end of season