Lake City aims to provide outlet, career paths for kids with esports program

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 5:46 PM EST
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LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) - Lake City leaders are aiming for their esports program to grow and offer more opportunities for kids and teenagers.

The city began the initiative two years ago with the purpose of keeping kids and teenagers occupied and off the streets.

“A lot of these kids don’t get the opportunity to see these things or know about these things so we are bringing it to them,” said Lake City Event Coordinator Savon Whitehead. “We want everybody to come out and be a part of it. We want the community and youth to be a part of something greater.”

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The city hosted its first tournament nearly two years ago and has seen growth since then.

City Administrator William Hall said esports events and community outreach costs around $30,000.

Right now, the city is planning to host an A.G.E. Con in August where there will be a variety of gaming events. This event also exposes the younger people to see what Lake City has to offer.

The idea comes after city leaders said they want to offer more opportunities to kids with different interests.

These events help kids get exposed to new career options such as coding, game design, streaming, being an esports commentator or even competing themselves.

The program continues to grow despite the challenge the city faces when it comes to funding.

“We had more participation locally, in from Florence and the county. And then they started coming in from outside,” said Hall.

Whitehead said more than 100 students in Lake City have shown interest in pursuing a related career thanks to the program.

“The kids are our future,” he said. “They are the ones that will be running this when we are gone. We want to give them the tools to succeed in the best way possible. Not every child is going to be interested in football. Not every child is going to be a doctor. So esports as a whole is just another opportunity for a career or hobby for them to get into.”

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