Unifying tribal youth and communities through structured athletic programs while providing necessary resources and developing a strong foundation in culture, leadership and wellness.
Native American Culture
ITS provides athletic opportunities and values education in conjunction with cultural, physical, mental, and spiritual development. ITS furnishes youth and communities with occasions to build self esteem, respect, acceptance, and sportsmanship through fun and positive activities, while developing athletic skill and forming friendships, guided by appropriate role models in a sound, structured program that is non-profit, volunteer-oriented, and open to all tribal youth.
Inter Tribal Sports is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of a diverse group of individuals committed to youth interests in Tribal communities. Board representatives include educators, youth program coordinators, recreation professionals, and other dedicated community members. Most of the board members are employed by tribes or tribal consortiums and have many duties apart from their roles in ITS. The board consists of up to two appointed representatives from each participating Tribe or Tribal organization.
The Board of Directors is responsible for providing the overall direction of ITS, including voting on issues such as allocation of funds and capital projects, formation of rules and policies, and communication with participating Tribal Governments and their leaders. The Board of Directors meets monthly with meetings hosted by member tribes and tribal organizations. Full board meetings are held on odd months and Executive Team meetings are held on even months. The Executive Team consists of four elected officers, President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, each serving two-year terms.
Day-to-day operations of the organization are administered from the headquarters in Temecula, California. An Executive Director oversees the staff and functions of the administrative branch, including program management, public relations, and development activities. Staff work closely with the Board of Directors, coaches, and community leaders to ensure that programs and activities are meeting the needs and expectations of the communities and that desired outcomes are being achieved.
Inter Tribal Sports began in southern California in the Fall of 2002 when representatives from Viejas, Barona, and SCTCA’s North County Community Resource Center recognized a need for an organized, semi-competitive youth sports league. A meeting was called and a few dedicated individuals acted on this need and created the Inter Tribal Flag Football League. Five teams from four organizations participated in that inaugural season. Determined to keep the momentum going following the early success, those involved began planning for a youth basketball and softball seasons. At that time, the ITFFL was renamed Inter Tribal Sports, or ITS. All three sports leagues were consistently offered year after year, with new tribes and tribal organization joining every season.
The organization operated successfully in this grass-roots manner for five years. However, as the service area expanded, it was recognized that the more structure would be necessary to accommodate the rapid growth and to meet the demand for organized youth sports from the tribal communities. An intense two-day planning meeting was held in February 2007, at which time the ITS Board of Directors was officially created and the organization drafted its mission statement, vision, and bylaws and elected officers. Shortly thereafter, ITS became incorporated and gained 501(c)(3)non-profit status. The administrative branch of ITS was created in 2009 to assist and alleviate some of the growing burden and workload on the board, with a primary function of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Since its inception, Inter Tribal Sports has served an estimated 3,000 youth from 22 tribal communities and currently serves over 1,000 youth per year. In addition to the three initial sports and soccer, which was added in 2011, ITS offers a wealth of enriching programs, including cultural gatherings, sports camps, group outings, and leadership activities.