As many other organizations have experienced the downfalls of COVID-19, the sports tourism industry has also been substantially hit.

Kalamazoo was set to host some marquee sports events in year. Including the 2020 USA Hockey Youth Tier II National Championships, 2020 Mid American Conference (MAC) Gymnastics Championship, 2020 MAC Track & Field Championship, and the 2020 National Solo Dance Finals along with many other events that bring visitors to our region.

In anticipation of hosting these events, Discover Kalamazoo Sports provided customized drawstring bags for all participating athletes for them to take home as a memory of not only the event itself but their time in Kalamazoo, MI.

A few months passed, more events cancelled, and many Kalamazoo area schools announced virtual learning for the Fall. Being the sports enthusiasts that we are, it made us wonder… How are these students going to stay active without a mandatory physical education class? And then it hit us, we need to create an opportunity for these students to stay active.

After putting a few feelers out to local elementary schools, it occurred to us that we had just the right amount to donate all of our remaining drawstring bags in stock to five local elementary schools in the area. So we immediately acted by sending a mass e-mail out to our partners and were able to fill the bags with donations from local businesses in no time!

The masks may hide it, but these were faces of pure joy after receiving their bags.


Thank you to our wonderful partners at The Dome Sports Center & Next Level PerformanceBronson Methodist HospitalKalamazoo In BloomMindsetPT in Texas Corners, Consumers Credit Union, and Kalamazoo Growlers for making this project possible.

Thank you to Woodward School for Technology and Research, Lincoln International Studies School, Milwood Elementary, Edison Academy, and the Washington Writers’ Academy for allowing us to donate these bags to your students.

Physical education plays a significant role in the future of our youth and the future of sport.

A 2019 study found that children who reported no exercise were twice as likely to have mental health problems, particularly related to anxiety and depression, compared with those who met the recommendation of an hour a day (The New York Times).

Our sports community in Kalamazoo is made up individuals dedicated to the future of sport and it is part of our mission at Discover Kalamazoo Sport’s to share that inspiration with you all!