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Tampa Bay Rowdies help kickoff youth program

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OLDSMAR — To mark the start of a new soccer-based program, the Learning Experience in Oldsmar went to the experts.

Tampa Bay Rowdies players showed up to teach skills and play with area youths this past Saturday morning.

“It worked out really well to pair up with the Rowdies to come out and put on a soccer clinic for us,” said Amy Alvarado, the child care center’s area manager for the state of Florida.

Forwards Amani Walker and Etianne Barbara, defender Draymond Washington and front office staffer Alex Luce were among the Rowdies representatives who set up a makeshift pitch and played throughout the afternoon with children and parents.

The North American Soccer League club is often involved with community outreach programs and Amani said Saturday’s event was fun to be part of because of its relaxed atmosphere. Across the parking lot, other kids played in a bounce house or took part in other activities around the facility.

The event’s purpose was to officially announce the start of The Learning Experience’s newest eight-week enrichment program called “Super Soccer.”

The enrichment programs add to the national child care center’s year-round curriculum, Alvarado said. Children spend 20 minutes each week learning different soccer skills and techniques, while also receiving a ball, duffle bag and other items.

By offering a multitude of educational opportunities to its enrolled children, varying in ages from 8 weeks to 5 years, The Learning Experience strives to separate itself from other day care facilities, Alvarado said.

“It’s all-inclusive,” she said. “Everything we offer to one child we offer to every child.”

Children begin learning sign language at 8 weeks, computer and technology programs start up at 2 years and a “Manners Matter” program and foreign language program are emphasized at all facilities nationwide.

The Learning Experience operates two locations throughout North Pinellas, in Oldsmar and Palm Harbor, with a third planned for Clearwater.

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