Youngsters who participate on the Evendale Eagles Swim Team through the Village of Evendale Recreation Department in Ohio can count on having terrific experiences filled with fun, laughter and learning.
And Steve Berke is a big reason why.
He is a tireless volunteer and avid supporter, willing to do anything to help kids have memorable sports experiences, and he’s this year’s recipient of the NAYS Youth Sports Parent of the Year award. The award is sponsored by Trophy Outlet.
“It’s overwhelming to win this award and very exciting,” Berke said. “But it’s not just about me. It’s really about all the volunteers because I can’t run the whole meet and do everything. We have grown from 80-some swimmers when I started to over 200 a year swimming now and the parents are there and they are all a part of making the program so successful.”
Berke has been involved on the Swim Team Board for more than 29 years and has been its long-time co-president.
He volunteers as the heat announcer at every home swim meet; he keeps the meets running smoothly; has been a terrific official for 28 years; and you can always find him encouraging and supporting all swimmers from both teams.
“One of the special moments is seeing them swim their very first lap and having their parents and the whole team at the end of the lane cheering them on,” Berke says. “It’s just really exciting to see that. And one of the things that we do special for the kids is when they get out they get a huge Hershey’s candy bar once they have completed their first lap.”
“He simply is the pillar of sportsmanship, fun and positive experiences for all involved,” says Kristen Maiden, program supervisor at the Village of Evendale. “His love for Evendale kids, the community and the swim team is infectious.”
Besides Berke’s long-time involvement in the department’s swim program, he somehow has also found time to coach and officiate soccer and basketball, and even mentor younger referees.
Passionate, caring and enthusiastic, this beloved parent touches hearts and impacts young lives every day in the Evendale community.
“The parents and coaches are so passionate and make it enjoyable for all the kids,” Berke says. “So we have been very lucky to live in Evendale and experience it.”
The community would say they are lucky to have Steve Berke, as well.
2017 - Jonathon Washington, MacDill Air Force Base Youth Programs, Florida
2016 - Gregory Prayer, Camp LeJeune-New River Community, North Carolina
2015 - Jenny Howell, Naval Support Activity Child and Youth Programs - Panama City, Florida
2014 - Kimberly Atnip, Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, Missouri
2013 - Jakayda McFadden, Joint Base Charleston Youth Sports & Fitness Program, South Carolina
2012 - Jill Seymour, Lakeland Eagles, Florida
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
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West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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