Whether you are bonding with co-workers over a game of dodgeball, reliving your intramural sport college days, or looking for a program to get your child involved in – chances are you've heard of the names Baltimore Social and BMore Kids. The go-to institutions for athletic leagues in Baltimore City are rebranding and putting their national presence under one name.
Now dubbed Volo City, based off the Italian word "volo" meaning "to fly," this unique sports league combines the adult intramural sports programs of Baltimore Social with the free, non-profit children's sports leagues that were housed under the BMore Kids brand to create a central hub for those looking for active fun in the city.
The program has been nationwide for some time but under an array of different titles. Giovanni Marcantoni, CEO of Volo City, says the moment is right for the company to create one cohesive brand that everyone will recognize.
"We had too many names scattered all over like 'Baltimore Social' and 'New York Social'. People didn't realize they were all connected. Now everything is under one umbrella," Marcantoni said.
The idea is a self-sustaining model where adult participants of Volo City sports can also coach the youth leagues in the organization with the incentive of free sport participation. The Volo City Kids Foundation nonprofit will take over Bmore Kids' charitable work to ensure all youth in Baltimore City can experience teamwork, healthy competition, and active play at no cost.
"The goal with the charity is to bring awareness for the need for free recreational activities in Baltimore City," Marcantoni said. "Now all adult participants will bring awareness every time they play in their shirts that say 'We Play So Kids Can Play For Free.'"
In 2016, Volo City's work initiated approximately $8.1 million in economic impact in Baltimore City, according to a Sage Policy Group analysis. They predict this could increase to as much as $20 million by the year 2020. Besides being his hometown, Marcantoni says the decision to stay headquartered in Baltimore was determined by the overwhelming support and need in the city.
"We were unsure at first where we would station our headquarters in 2015," said Marcantoni. "But we were met with such overwhelming support from entities, like Betamore and City Garage, that we felt there was such a passion for what we were trying to do. The sports and community aspect is needed in Baltimore and we want be where the need is greatest."
Ultimately, the company's goal is to make Baltimore, and its other United States locations, the most active cities in the world for every demographic.
"When people move to Baltimore they are looking to network socially," Marcantoni said. "Our programs are for every age and every fitness level. We're getting people out into the neighborhood to interact with each other, and surrounding businesses, to accelerate their social lives."
Volo City officially launched its new name at a kick-off ceremony earlier this month in the Port Covington neighborhood. For more information about Volo City and how you can get involved visit volocity.org.