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There's a lot of talk about the problems our young people face. But who's talking about solutions? The Knights of Columbus is! Not only do the Knights offer a program especially for young Catholic men, it supports countless other youth programs, from CYO to youth sports leagues. In 1996 the Knights raised and distributed $16.6 million in support of youth programs, for scholarships and athletics. Knights volunteered an additional 6 million hours of service to young people.

COLUMBIAN SQUIRES

Young men between the ages of 12 and 18 who belong to the Knights of Columbus leadership training program are called Columbian Squires. Their local units are called circles. Sponsored by councils and guided by Knights, circles perform service programs to benefit their communities and Church. There are more than 25,000 Squires in about 1,100 circles in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guam. Councils also sponsor some 1,200 Catholic Scout troops servicing almost 36,000 youngsters.

ATHLETICS

Knights of Columbus councils sponsor youth basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, softball, soccer and volleyball programs. Some councils sponsor teams, others entire leagues. Knights serve as coaches, officials, scorekeepers and administrators. Columbian Squires often compete in basketball and softball leagues.

FREE THROW CHAMPIONSHIP

Each year more than 200,000 boys and girls age 10 to 14 participate in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship. More than 3,100 councils sponsor free throw championship competitions, which are held each winter. In Ontario alone, nearly 80,000 youngsters participate. Youngsters, competing according to age and gender, take 25 free throws and the best shooters win. Winners move on to district and statewide competitions. International winners are selected on the basis of scores in state-level championships. Winners usually make from 23 to 25 free throws. Since 1972 more than 2.7 million youngsters have competed in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship.

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