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2015 Excellence in Youth Sports Award Winner: Mountain Home Air Force Base

The beautiful state of Idaho and all of its wonderful natural resources are put to great use by the Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Sports Program staff – and the children there couldn’t be happier.

Excellence Mountain HomeThe spring and summer months feature programs such as kayaking, whitewater rafting and mountain biking; winter opens the door for children to hit the slopes to experience the thrills of skiing and snowboarding.

The Mountain Home staff believes that by offering more than just traditional sports they will reach more youth and fulfill their program goals of helping children develop not only a lifelong love of sports but inspire a commitment to maintaining healthy lifestyles.

“We strive to provide meaningful sport experiences for all participants through quality instruction, emphasizing good sportsmanship and equal play along with teamwork, respect, dedication, responsibility and discipline,” says Erin Arel, youth sports and fitness director at Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Programs, which also won the Excellence in Youth Sports Award in 2005. “We recognize effort and improvement to help develop self-esteem and to foster a positive self-image while providing an atmosphere where each child feels a sense of belonging and achievement, regardless of ability.”

And if being on the water or the snow isn’t of interest to a child, the department offers plenty of more-traditional opportunities to spark their interest with soccer, baseball, cheerleading, swimming, volleyball, dance and basketball programs.

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The Mountain Home AFB Youth Sports Program staff holds their programs accountable by constantly assessing their strengths as well as areas that need improvement through its After Action Report. The report provides a detailed description of each individual sport, from marketing to the closing ceremonies, and helps lay the framework for improving future seasons.

Regardless of what sport or activity a child chooses, they can be sure it will be a positive experience. The Mountain Home staff cultivates an atmosphere in all of its programs in which each child feels a true sense of belonging and achievement, no matter what their level of ability.

“We strive to foster a lifelong love of physical activity by providing enjoyable sports programs that place competition in a healthy perspective by teaching kids how to win and lose appropriately,” says Arel. “Our aim is to facilitate the development of self-worth and personal identity by emphasizing such concepts as sportsmanship, teamwork and cooperation, leadership and skill development in a safe and fun environment.”

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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