The first IIAA games were organized in 1976 by three people following their belief that the virtues of good sportsmanship, made meaningful in a competitive environment, would benefit the youth in children’s homes and residential treatment centers. Over 40 years, those instincts have been validated by reports, researched and published by university-level educators.
Founding fathers Tom Newman, Father John Smyth and Ted Amlong, each working at different children’s homes in various parts of the State, formed the concept of what is today known as the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association. They recognized the environment of sport as an important socializing context and the power of teaching through recreation. Together they formed a network of agencies across the State seeking to provide opportunities for youths residing in residential treatment centers to compete and socialize together.
In 1979, through funding from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the IIAA was able to hire Tom Corr as its Executive Director. Hiring an executive director provided the foundation for an expanded state-wide organization, consisting of the Northern, Chicago, Western, Central, and Southern regions of Illinois.
Tom Corr retired December 31, 2015 after 37 years of dedicated service to the youth throughout the state of Illinois. Today, the IIAA continues to succeed in serving over 1500 youth as a mission of Kemmerer Village under the director Dave Dance.