Marin Youth Matters: Play Marin’s Decade of Making a Difference for the Youth of Marin City

Play Marin

Play Marin was created in 2012 by Paul Austin, who has deep roots in Marin, as his great grandparents came to Marin City in the late 1930’s / early 1940’s to work in the Sausalito Shipyards during WWII. A student-athlete who grew up in the community, Austin started by coaching one basketball team of nine players. Today, Play Marin reaches well over 300+ kids in Marin County annually through dozens of sports, summer camps, and many other enriching activities. We caught up with Paul to find out how the organization is going.

Any highlights from last year to share? 

It’s been such a great year, but if I had to pick a few: 

Building out a partnership with 24/8 Elite, the newest AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) program in Marin. We are geared towards offering players skill development with coaches who have pro-level experience and are providing an opportunity to broaden their exposure to the game of basketball by competing in various tournaments, putting them in position to gain exposure and recognition.

Play Marin St Marys

Utilizing the St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church as our umbrella and access to the CYO athletic program, we were able to create multiple CYO teams, including 12 basketball teams, putting about 60 volleyball players on the court and 75 track and field athletes on the field. With entering the CYO Organization, our youth athletes are able to build character, learn and practice new found skills, compete in fun and diverse environments and develop self-awareness and confidence. We welcome any coaches or volunteers to help this happen during the school year.  

We unveiled our renovated basketball court at the Marin City Recreation Center, which was made possible by The Warriors Foundation and The Good Tidings Foundation. Special guests included Chris Mullen and dunker Chris Johnson, who put on a skillful and amazing show. The Warriors brought a few hundred sweatshirts and swag; it was a great day. 

We held our Second Annual Gravity Car Build and Race with the Mill Valley Scouts, which happens in the month of May. The youth were able to build cars with the assistance of volunteers and race them in the parking lot right next to the recreation center. 

And then our summer camp programs (Summer Jam) are always so great. We love to get the kids out on the water and out into nature as well as traditional sports. On average it costs us about $325, per camper, per week, we run the camp for eight weeks. Last year we averaged 85 kids, and the camp is free to families of the Marin City Community. We are supported by volunteers and funded by donations. 

What are your goals for 2023? 

We have two full-time staff that lead Play Marin, myself and Cerella “Rella” Hampton. We would like to bring someone else into the office to support our efforts. During the summer, we hire about 12 people and rely on volunteers and donations. We are also looking to create a “Sustainers Club” system that will ensure funding for multiple years, so we can plan ahead for programs, facilities and staff. For instance, instead of $5,000 all at once, a donor would give $1,000 (or more) for five years.  

You’ve recently started offering enrichment activities, how has this program been going? 

Beyond sports, we work to create inclusion and community for the kids and families in Marin City with a variety of enrichment activities. Every December we take kids to the Holiday Heroes in San Francisco where they can do crafts, decorate cookies, receive gifts, and meet local heroes. For some of our kids, this outing is their main holiday festivities. Through community partnerships throughout the year, we have been able to offer opportunities such as photography and robotics, coastal exploration and several other enrichment activities.

We also arrange events such as going to the movies to see Wakanda Forever or traveling to Stanford University to watch Marin City’s own Darrion Trammell play basketball for San Diego State University.

Do you have any goals for the summer camps this year?

This year’s summer camp, titled “Summer Jam 2022,” ran from June 20-August 12th, bringing together over 200 youth for an amped up season of activities and fun! This is where our community really shined, as local partners teamed up to make the experience more enriching and inclusive than ever. As any working parent will tell you, summer camps are essential! Besides serving middle school and younger, we also direct local teenagers to help as lifeguards, swim instructors, and more. For example, Tara Sridharan, varsity tennis player at Branson, created and coached a tennis clinic to 25 kids ages 7-13 during summer 2022.

In 2022, we were fortunate to receive the Coastal Grant from the California Coastal Commission. With this grant we were able to offer our summer campers coastal activities including sailing, surfing and funding 35 middle school students to attend a 3-day overnight educational retreat in Golden Gate Park. To continue building out a coastal program is at the top of our list. The Bay Area offers so many opportunities and we are looking forward to having a budget that will allow for such explorations. 

To learn more about PlayMarin and/or donate go to, and to help out as a coach or chaperone, [email protected].