Youth Athletics Recreation Development (YARD) has opened its second space on 305 Creek St. in Yelm. The organization has run its baseball practices, classes and other events in Unit A, but has now expanded to Unit D on the end of the building.
Owner Dustin Stephan said the new space will be used to host practices for Elite Baseball Club, a local youth baseball nonprofit organization, as well as other baseball and softball skill development sessions. Elite Baseball Club has four teams in place, with hopes of adding more, and the teams will practice two to three times a week from now until March.
Stephan said the new space will also feature two indoor tunnels as well as a pitching mound and a baseball cage.
Members of YARD will be able to reserve time in the batting cages online and then come on their own time to use the cage and machines.
“It’s super exciting. The company as a whole is about a year and a half old, and the growth and community support has been fantastic,” Stephan said. “It’s almost unbelievable how fast it’s grown.”
Stephan said YARD has been planning to move into the new space since August. He said the company’s competitive cheer program will take over the gym space in Unit A, which will remain YARD’s academic and life-skills hubs. Unit A previously combined those hubs with the diamond sports development and practice, but the two spaces will separate the sides of the company.
“The tutoring and academic side is so busy that it almost needs its own designated space. So we offer cooking classes, résumé and SAT prep and an open study hall,” Stephan said.
In the future, Stephan hopes to continue expanding YARD’s services in the community, including “an arcade concept.” But for now, the student athletes who work with Stephan and the coaches at YARD are excited to have more space to improve their skills on and off the field.
“They’re super excited. The looks on their faces when they came in and they saw how much more open space there is versus Unit A, they literally jumped for joy,” Stephan said.
Stephan said that he hopes the new and improved space will help the Yelm community learn what YARD is about, as well as the Elite Baseball Club, which is coached by former collegiate student athletes who played at Saint Martin’s University.
“Elite Baseball Club is a growing local organization that is really trying to have a competitive baseball field year round to compete with other clubs outside of the area,” he said. “We’re trying to keep local talent local. As the game grows, we need to grow with it, and we have so much athletic talent here. We’re trying to build a place where we can harness all that athletic talent. We want to show people how serious we are that we want to develop this talent.”
Go to https://www.yardathletes.com/ for more information about the programs offered.