The vision of a youth sports training facility that has sat on the backburner in the mind of Ray “Coach” Curtis for over a decade is now finally gaining steam and moving forward.
The Cherry Valley Agriculture Athletic Academy (CVAAA) will be opening the golfing phase by the beginning of summer of 2020.
It is the first phase of its multi-tiered plan that will include not only a sports program but also an agriculture program.
“In March the grass will be in. We hope to launch in the summer,” says Curtis who co-founded the academy with his son. “It will be open for afterschool, weekends and summers.”
With the help of his son, David Curtis, a golfing pro at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Curtis will start with teaching youth the basics of golf.
The proposed plan includes four tee boxes, three greens and a putting area.
There will also be a hitting bay that will include equipment to help analyze and develop a player’s swing.
Plans to open additional phases will follow soon after the initial launch with basketball next on the agenda.
The CVAAA will also be developing an agriculture program that will teach youth how to grow, maintain and harvest crops.
But the intention of Curtis and the academy is not just about teaching kids techniques to help them be better athletes or how to grow crops.
“I want to help them get ready for the world,” says Curtis revealing his teacher’s heart to develop youngsters. “I want to help kids find their interests.”
His hopes are to give children a well-rounded sports education by exposing them to other aspects to sports such as sports medicine, sports journalism and coaching.
Curtis, a former Beaumont School District administrator and a past Banning School Board member, believes that learning those types of skills could lead to future careers that are associated with sports.
Through the agriculture program, the academy will be introducing future generations to careers in farming, heavy equipment operations and landscaping among others.
“The best way to teach someone is when they don’t know they are being taught,” he says with a chuckle.
As the academy develops, the group plans to begin scholarship programs that will help students in the Pass area on an at-need basis.
The idea is that kids who participate in the different programs will be awarded scholarships to further their education based on their need, not necessarily their sports skills and abilities.
“I see too many times kids that want to do it but they don’t have the skills,” Curtis says. “It’s important to have these skills.”
Curtis also hopes that by getting kids involved in sports and agriculture programs, it forces kids to be outside and away from electronic devices.
“It’s digital heroine,” he says with a stern warning pointing to a smart phone. “We have got to get kids off of these.”
As a non-profit organization, the CVAAA is allowed to offer a tax deduction for some of the registration fees that will be collected.
Some of the fees will go toward paying for equipment, maintenance and field trips.
Curtis and the CVAAA are currently looking for volunteers with experience in agriculture, athletics, grant writing and fundraising to serve on its advisory board. Visit www.CVAAA.org .