Sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a bit of competition.
That concept was in full view Saturday, as the Impact Teens Goldsboro group hosted a "Kicking It with ITG" kickball tournament at Mina Weil Park, accompanied by the Goldsboro Police Department.
Beginning around 6 p.m., the event drew dozens of players and even more spectators. People of all kinds - young and old, black and white - came out to play or watch.
Khalil Cobb, co-founder of ITG, said the game represented the culmination of the young organization's summer plans.
"At out first executive board meeting, we pretty much laid out everything we were going to do for the summer," he said. "We're very excited for this, it's about bringing the community together."
Cobb, along with brother and ITG co-founder Ja'Shawn Faire, contacted the Goldsboro Police Department to invite them out. Walt Howard, gang suppression officer with the GPD, said he was excited to play after having worked with ITG on the city's Operation Clean Slate, when the teens helped officers clean up graffiti.
As more and more people arrived, police Chief Mike West said he hoped events like the kickball game could help develop understanding between police and civilians.
"It's to show the people, especially the youth, that we're human just like them, and we like to have a good time," he said.
Asked if he was ready to get competitive, West chuckled.
"I plan on being in there, I don't know how competitive I'll be," he said with a laugh.
Soon, the teams were ready to play. First up were the purple and blue youth teams, who set up on the field. Even as a light rain began to fall, no one suggested the game be paused at all.
Within minutes, things were underway. Everyone seemed a bit fuzzy on the rules, but no one seemed to mind. All that mattered was having fun.
Faire said that having public events frequently would help drive crime rates down, a point of common ground with the police department.
"You see lot of teens getting jailed, or getting put in the ground," he said. "A lot of kids, when they leave school, they've already committed themselves to the streets because they have nothing else to do."
Providing productive ways for kids to spend their time can help fix that, he said.
Collaborating with other community groups is another step towards fixing Goldsboro, he said. Several such groups - Faire mentioned Operation Unite Goldsboro founder Mark Colebrook in particular - have begun operating within the last few months, all with the goal of making Goldsboro a better place to live.
Working with other groups is a part of the plan going forward.
"If there are other groups with the same goals as us, we definitely want to work with them," he said. "That's what Impact Teens Goldsboro is all about, coming together."