Jill Seymour was presented with the PAYS 2012 Parent of the Year Award, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance.
Jill Seymour loves serving as “Team Mom” for the Lakeland (Fla.) Eagles youth football team – and it shows in everything she does.
And she does a lot.
Whether it’s monitoring sideline behavior and coordinating team drinks and snacks or digging into her own pocket to buy meals and equipment, among so much more, Seymour tirelessly shares her time, talents and deep affection for all the kids who suit up and take the field.
“I love it,” says the 36-year-old Lakeland, Fla., resident and mother of two, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Parents Association for Youth Sports (PAYS) Parent of the Year award. “I wouldn’t dream of not being out there with the kids.”
The Parent of the Year award is presented annually by the National Alliance for Youth Sports to one special youth sports parent who consistently emphasizes fun, learning and safety, as well as treats every child with the same respect and patience as their own.
“It means so much,” Seymour said of winning the award. “I enjoy being with the kids and seeing how much of an impact it makes on a lot of them.”
Seymour, who is a sergeant in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, was chosen from more than 200 nominations that were received.
“Over the past 18 months Jill has demonstrated time and again that she is an exceptional role model and gifted mentor and she is the epitome of all the characteristics for which PAYS stands,” said Terry Storie, head coach of the Lakeland Eagles who, along with his assistant coaches, nominated Seymour for the award. “She demonstrates positive support for others by assisting with not only her children but with every child.”
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October she purchased pink socks for all the kids to wear – and they loved the idea as it gave them a chance to emulate their NFL heroes who they watched on television wearing pink on game days throughout the month, too.
“We are all admirers of Jill’s thoughtfulness, care and concern, and ability to work with anyone, no matter what their station in life or personal situation,” Storie said. “She genuinely puts the kids first and everything else is secondary. Jill exemplifies a unique form of mentorship that, we believe, has given a chance to some who may have never had an opportunity to succeed.”
Seymour received her award during the annual Youth Sports Congress, which was held in New Orleans, La., in early December.
Seymour, who played sports growing up, understands the important role they have in the development of children; and she also knows that adults must do their part to make the experience a rewarding one. Her tips for youth sports parents are the following:
Unconditional love: “Whether they are the superstar athlete or not, support them every step of the way,” she says. “Show them how proud you are of everything they do.”
Practice good sportsmanship: “Reward them for showing good sportsmanship and don’t be afraid to point out bad sportsmanship as an example of what not to do,” she says.
Have fun: “Don’t take it too seriously – you are there to support and encourage and not belittle and discourage,” she says. “Keep it fun; that is the main thing we try to do with our kids and have them looking forward to the next practice. Ultimately, it’s about learning teamwork and responsibility while discovering their true passion.”
Clearly, Seymour’s passion is in making a difference in the lives of every youngster she comes in contact with.
And that’s just one of many things she does really well.
Nationwide Insurance is the proud sponsor of the PAYS Youth Sports Parent of the Year Award. Nationwide contributes valuable prizes and monetary contributions in honor of great parents across the country.