The National Trail Parks and Recreation District (NTRPD) is one of five organizations from across the United States that was selected for the prestigious 2017 Excellence in Youth Sports Award. The Excellence Awards annually recognize organizations who provide high-quality sports programs for children. The Excellence Award winners were honored on Nov. 8 during the 16th Annual NAYS Youth Sports Congress that took place in Orlando, Fla.
At the National Trail Parks and Recreation District in Springfield, Ohio the staff conducts its youth sports programs with a Kids’ First philosophy and youngsters are reaping the benefits with fun-filled experiences. “We have a staff of two full-time Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA) employees along with volunteers and a small support staff to organize and implement youth sports programs,” says Miste Adams, Recreation Superintendent. “This small but mighty team works tirelessly to provide the thousands of kids in our area and surrounding areas with the best youth sporting experience. We pride ourselves on being the leader and go-to group in the youth sports community.”
In 2016, National Trail saw more than 151,000 program participations and over 1.5 million park visits. Soccer is the District’s most popular sport, as more than 700 youngsters take the field in the fall, and more than 350 participate in the spring. Plus, there are plenty of other sports to choose from throughout the year, including volleyball, basketball, flag football and tennis.
The District also conducted highly successful Start Smart Basketball and Baseball programs this year to give youngsters ages 3 to 5 a positive introduction to the sport and set the tone for a smooth transition into organized sports.
It also offers its Youth Sport Sampler, an innovative week-long, camp style program for kids ages 5 to 7. The unique format focuses on a different sport each day, giving kids the chance to try a new sport or play one that they haven’t been able to due to their commitments with other sports or activities.
“It is not always easy doing the right thing, but we always work to put the kids first in all our programs,” Adams says.
All of its programs feature affordable registration fees with no fundraising; good sportsmanship and safety are top priorities; and all staff decisions are made with the kids’ best interests as the focus.
“Sportsmanship is stressed in all our youth sports programs through our philosophy of Kids First and providing a fun and safe place for all children to learn and play sports,” Adams says. “Our staff uses hands-on training and education to promote and encourage sportsmanship in all our youth sports programs. To deter unsportsmanlike behavior each sports rule set outlines consequences for unsportsmanlike behavior.”
L-R - Miste Adams - Recreation Superintendent, NTPRD - Emmy Martinez, Senior Director, NAYS - Penny Dunbar - Recreation Specialist, NTPRD