Monday, November 19, 2012
2012 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: MCCS Camp Lejeune (N.C.) Youth Sports
At MCCS Camp Lejeune Youth Sports in North Carolina, ongoing efforts toward excellence wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of volunteers and staff. Their program philosophy centers on community — appropriate, since their community is so unique. |
In addition to serving the families on base, Camp Lejeune works with the nearby Marine Corps Air Station New River, as well as the Onslow County (N.C.) Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Jacksonville (N.C.) Recreation and Parks Department to serve the 2,500 children who sign up for their youth sports offerings each year.
Maintaining community relationships and partnering with neighboring recreational agencies helps provide physical activities and wellness opportunities to Camp Lejeune’s young athletes that might otherwise be lost in a military base setting.
MCCS Camp Lejeune Youth Sports is one of five youth sports programs to be named the 2012 Excellence in Youths Sports Award winners. Developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) and Athletic Business magazine, the award recognizes programs that are doing superior jobs of conducting diverse activities with a focus on providing safe and positive experiences for all participants, including children, parents and coaches.
The camp’s youth sports program keeps the fun in fundamentals, and this message is made clear to everyone. Upon walking into the youth sports building, visitors are met with a sign that reads: “Welcome to Camp Lejeune Youth Sports, where kids come first, where everyone sets a good example, where everyone has fun, where everyone is supportive.”
The key to ensuring this message is put into practice is the education of parents and coaches who volunteer at MCCS Camp Lejeune Youth Sports. Each year, approximately 300 coaches complete training through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association. This program enforces Camp Lejeune’s philosophies by teaching coaches how to create a fun and safe youth sports environment by addressing such topics as keeping players active at practice, building confidence, the role of winning in youth sports and working with parents.
At the end of the NYSCA training, coaches sign a code of ethics agreeing to uphold the basic tenants of being an ideal coach, including treating each player as an individual and being a role model of fair play and sportsmanship. Moreover, coach handbooks have been updated to further stress the importance coaches play in the youth sports program.
“Our goal is to ensure that all parties are on the same page, from the first day of practice to the final game,” says Chris Alger, base athletic director at MCCS Camp Lejeune, adding that the new handbooks consist of a volunteer job description, a touch policy, inclement weather procedures, and a volunteer agreement, on top of the existing material for NYSCA training. “Redoing these policies helps us to ensure the same message is being conveyed to all parties. Proper communication is essential to the success of any organization, and providing our volunteers with this information is the first step in the process.”
Story written by Linda Alberts, public relations coordinator for the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
The five winners of the 2012 Excellence in Youth Sports Awards, sponsored by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business magazine, are being announced in this space over the next five days. The awards will be presented to program administrators at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Friday, Nov. 30.