Featured Organization- Oswego Youth Tackle Football
Organization Name: Oswego Youth Tackle Football, Inc. (OYTF)
Age: Super Light – Varsity, ages 6-14, Tri-County Football League (Illinois)
Oswego Youth Tackle Football is Illinois School District 308’s largest and longest tenured youth sports program. OYTF, as it is commonly referred to, is celebrating 35 years of youth football in the 2014 season. OYTF has been a part of the Oswego community for so long; it is time to explain how it all started.
OHS Varsity Football Coach in late 70’s, Glen Posmer, wanted to create a better high school football program. Little did he know that Oswego parents were getting together to make his vision a reality by creating a youth tackle football program for 7th and 8th graders. Boulder Hill residents Bob Smith and Jim Sissom walked into Bob Tripp’s Insurance office looking for insurance to cover a youth tackle program and get it off ground. Bob Tripp agreed that a youth football program was long overdue and drew up the insurance for 1st year and wanted to be involved. These 3 gentlemen along with Bill Carey and Doc Ervin were some of the few men responsible for the first years of OYTF.
In 1979, OYTF started with 46, 7th and 8th grade football registrants. There were no Orange, Blue, White, or Silver teams when the league started. The original 46 players didn’t have any helmets, shoulder pads or shoes. Bob Tripp contacted Dick Hayden of Hayden sports and told him about the new football program in Oswego and their need for equipment. Dick Hayden was impressed by the effort and told Bob to have the boys be at the field on a Saturday and Hayden sports will have people out there to size up the boys and have them pay him when they can.
Money was nonexistent when the league started. These guys would sit outside the double doors at the Oswego Inn and sell raffle tickets. “Going into the bar, the customers were reluctant to buy. When they came out, they couldn’t buy enough tickets” Tripp recalls. In order to raise money, the boys went door-to-door collecting pop bottles to turn in for money.
Over the last 35 years, OYTF has seen a lot of participants come through the program, whether playing football or part of cheer or poms. Youth sport teaches how to be a part of a team and how to win and lose. There is more to life than football, cheer, and poms. Most of these kids feel OYTF helped shape them into successful teenagers and adults. OYTF has been going strong for 35 years and will only continue to get stronger.
Dan Miller OYTF President 2013-present says as the Current Board President of OYTF, it is an honor to lead this organization forward while maintaining the core values and traditions that were established and built upon 35 years ago. The organization has seen great triumphs and devastating setbacks over the years but the solid foundation and the extremely dedicated volunteers who have stood together and witnessed the OYTF community grow and flourish in success. The ultimate success being the development of the Oswego area youth into being better athletes, better sportsmen and better citizens. The OYTF Board has taken the responsibility of furthering this organization extremely serious and work very hard to ensure the state of the organization remains strong but is positioned to continue the success of OYTF for many years to come. In our 35th season, OYTF looks to celebrate all of the alumni who have played for OYTF, Cheered for OYTF or have helped make the organization what it continues to be today. OYTF is a program that the children are proud to be a part of.
The continued growth over the last 35 years has lead to OYTF now having 16 football teams with cheerleaders for each team. The league now has roughly 400 football players and 150 cheerleaders. In 2013, we had 5 of the 8 teams that were in the Super Bowl for Tri-County Football. We also had three 1st place and two 2nd place finishes in the 2013 Cheer Competition.
For more information about Oswego’s Youth Tackle Football program, please visit the website at www.oytf.org.
Gary Tickle (Silver Football Athletic Director) and Bob Perry (White Football Athletic Director) at OYTF.