The Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Program staff in Florida delivers on its "Having Fun with a Purpose" motto every single day. And the youngsters that annually participate in its programs are clearly reaping the benefits.
“Our motto is ‘Having Fun with a Purpose’ in everything we do so that we can provide the knowledge and skills needed for our young youth to thrive,” says Alvin Koposko, Sports and Fitness Director at Hurlburt. “The philosophy of the Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Program is to instill a positive attitude, sportsmanship, basic fundamentals, confidence and high moral standards.”
Plus, it educates youngsters on its nine Core Values, which are Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgement.
These Core Values are incorporated throughout Hurlburt’s sports programs, which include everything from basketball and swimming to volleyball and cheerleading, among many other activities. These core values reflect the desire to live a responsible life as an individual, as a member of a team, and as a member of society.
Parents are also encouraged to reinforce these behaviors by talking about them, what they mean and what these behaviors can look like at home.
“Our programs develop the physical, psychological and social aspects of youth,” Koposko says. “Our programs emphasize participation, fun with a purpose and sportsmanship, and downplay a competitive approach to sports. Participants, parents and coaches are expected to support this philosophy.”
The safety of the children is also a top priority at Hurlburt. Inspections of fields and gyms are regularly done and coaches are well-versed in emergency procedures. Each coach is also given a fully stocked first aid kit for their team, and a kit is kept at each field, too.
“Hurlburt Field Youth Sports Programs strongly believes in the benefits of participation in organized sports and fitness,” Koposko says. “Participation in sports and fitness has proven to build self-esteem, promote teamwork, develop the body as well as the mind, and is an integral part of the maturation process. Therefore, our goal is to provide activities and the venue for young people of all backgrounds to participate and enjoy a variety of recreational programs while maintaining a safe, wholesome environment.”
All team sport seasons begin with a Parent/Coach meeting and orientation to go over rules, policies and answer any questions and concerns parents and coaches may have. Each season starts with three weeks of practices followed by two months of games on Saturdays. For soccer and football the last game of the season is played in the evening to give the kids a special experience.
“We at Hurlburt strongly believe we meet the needs of our community and reach the maximum number of families that wish to participate in youth sports year around with our various leagues, clinics and instructional classes,” Koposko says. “We believe we structure our sports programming with the kids’ interests in mind. We also remain flexible to change our program calendar or game rules to keep them continually fun and challenging and fair to all.”