2013 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: Mecklenburg (N.C.) County Park and Recreation

Mecklenburg (N.C.) County Park and Recreation takes a holistic approach to youth sports, using the power of sports as a vehicle to teach their participants life skills. Rather than just providing leagues for children, the department's programming focuses on character building, fitness, nutrition and health to help develop the whole child.

"As youth sports administrators, we shoulder the responsibility of educating the parents and youth of our community not only about the sports, but also about the individual elements that enable them to reap the full benefits of our youth sports program experience," says Bryan Joyner, recreation coordinator/supervisor of youth sports development for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

Childhood should be a carefree period in life, but it can also be a time when issues like bullying and low self-esteem hit hardest. Add to that today's social and health concerns caused by childhood obesity.

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