2015 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: Fort Leonard Wood | Athletic Business

2015 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: Fort Leonard Wood

The diverse offerings of sports programs at Fort Leonard Wood Youth Sports and Fitness in Missouri focuses on two important principles: fun and development. Regardless whether children are on the soccer field, basketball court or involved in any of the 10 team sports offered at the base, they’re assured to have a positive experience while learning sports skills.

Participants gain valuable life skills, as every Fort Leonard Wood program is fully dedicated to teaching children honor, respect and leadership.

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“We consistently strive to provide a positive and safe experience for our athletes, families and coaches,” says Jamal Verdell, youth sports and fitness director at Fort Leonard Wood Youth Sports and Fitness. “We seek daily to offer an environment focused on honor, respect and leadership. As a military installation we keep in mind the diverse needs of our families and aim to reduce conflict between military readiness and parental responsibility.”

Being a good sport really does mean something at this base, as well. Besides the pre- and postgame handshakes, coaches high-five players to recognize displays of good sportsmanship; officials acknowledge positive displays; and one player from each team earns the Sportsmanship Award as voted on by the coaches.

Excellence Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood Youth Sports and Fitness also has built a special relationship with the St. Louis Rams, hosting NFL Play60, a St. Louis Rams Fundamental Skills camp, and taking athletes up to the Rams’ training camp.

Leonard Wood provides professionally managed programs ranging from sports that will provide opportunities to meet the developmental, educational, leisure, recreational, physical and social needs of youth, to exercise and fitness programs that focus on the five components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility and body composition.


“This program teaches and enhances the skills and education of athletes through a positive, fun and safe environment so our youth not only develop into successful athletes on the playing field but in life as well,” says Verdell.

Recreational sports bring out skills like determination, persistence, hard work and leadership, and providing fun experiences youngsters will be inspired to strive to become not only better in sports, but in life, says Verdell. “Special events and game day activities are important to our organization, as we seek to make each athlete’s experience unique and special. We want our athletes to know that we take pride in providing opportunities they would not receive elsewhere.”

Developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports 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 eight winners of the 2015 Excellence in Youth Sports Award are being announced in this space over the next eight days.
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