Monday through Friday:
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST
As the only tri-service joint base in the U.S. serving families from the Air Force, Navy and Army, the Joint-Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst Youth Sports & Fitness Program in New Jersey is in a unique situation to take the best aspects of each branch’s youth sports programs to create one outstanding youth sports program.
While this presents many challenges, it also offers the program rewarding opportunities to meet the needs of their patrons: the men and women that serve in the U.S. military, and their families.
For their ongoing efforts to provide a safe, fun-filled and nurturing environment for all youth, Joint-Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst Youth Sports & Fitness Program was selected as a winner of the 2012 Excellence in Youth Sports Award. The award was developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business magazine to recognize programs conducting diverse activities with a focus on providing positive experiences for all participants, including children, parents and coaches.
According to Donald Russoniello, director of the Joint-Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst Youth Sports & Fitness Program, one benefit they have realized from being a tri-service joint base is being able to expand the number of programs offered to reach each youth. In addition to offering team sports they are able to offer a variety of individual sports like golf and track and instructional classes like karate to encourage everyone to be active.
They even offer a gym class for home schooled children that runs for nine months during the school year.
“Most of the home schooled children don’t get the benefit of physical education programs that are offered in the schools,” said Russoniello. “Giving them this class helps them stay fit and play the same sports.” The gym class serves youths ages 6 to 18. Last year, more than 30 children participated.
Joint-Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst Youth Sports & Fitness Program also benefitted with an increase in volunteers after the merging of the bases. Accountability is a constant theme volunteers hear during the classes Joint-Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst Youth Sports & Fitness Program holds to prepare them for the important role volunteers play in the program, as well as in the experience each youngster will have.
Coaches are trained in their roles and responsibilities of working with youth through the NAYS Coach Training & Membership on topics like tips on teaching and communication, working with parents and preventing abuse and injuries.
They supplement NAYS Coach Training with Character Counts programs to help coaches teach their players how to play with values like respect and fairness, and the coaches even learn how to be better role models along the way.
“If coaches emulate these values, their players will follow their lead and understand a good athlete is a combination of skills and good character,” Russoniello said.
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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