In 2003, the NYO Baseball committee established an award in memory of NYO Alum, Kyle Burnat. Kyle, a Woodward Academy Alum, and Yale student athlete had a deep appreciation for his time spent at Northside Youth Organization:
“. . . I went on to play ball at my high school and I traveled all over the country with my summer teams. While both of these experiences were great, neither could compare to the place where I had grown up playing ball with everybody who knew me. . . The ball fields at NYO were truly a place where I grew up, I even met my first girlfriend there, and it was a tough place to leave. . . (My NYO) friends are people that I no longer see constantly, yet I seem to still hold a strong bond with. . . The mention of NYO brings back fond memories that I wish more children could have. A place where individuals are still cared for and there is a family atmosphere that is good for children. . . NYO is not just a place to play ball, it is a community meeting place where lifelong friends have been made, young boys have grown into men, and athletic skills have been honed. . . .”
As described by NYO Baseball Commissioner, Cliff Barshay, “The Kyle Burnat Award, which is given on a yearly basis to the twelve-year-old in the baseball program who, throughout his many years at NYO, most embodies the ‘NYO experience’ – the ability to appreciate your teammates and the special and fleeting moments of playing baseball as a kid, finding a love for the game and discovering a level of dedication to the task at hand that can later be applied in life. The recipient is not necessarily the player with the most talent, but someone who has gotten the most out of those talents over a short lifetime here at NYO while recognizing the importance of team, camaraderie, sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship.”
Christopher Fielden, the 2017 recipient, has been a staple around the park since he was a five-year-old playing for the Shetland Blue “Blueclaws” in 2009. Christopher, a 6th grader at Lovett, is known for his leadership, politeness, enthusiasm, work ethic, and athletic ability.