Pictured above (from left) John Stromberg, Youth Sports & Fitness Director at Ft. Polk Youth Sports; Josefa Reid, Fitness Specialist, Ft. Hood; Vickie Jackson, Sports Director, Ft. Hood; and Kenneth Price, Youth Sports and Fitness Specialist, U.S. Army IMCOM.

Youth and teens are discovering the joys of running through an innovative program being provided by the Fort Hood CYS Youth Sports and Fitness staff in Texas.

The staff created its Run Club program to help youth develop a new sense of respect and enjoyment in running activities while in the process helping build the foundation for leading healthy lifestyles.

And these terrific efforts with its Run Club helped it earn a prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award. The Excellence Awards were created by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business in 2000 and are annually presented to organizations who have gone above and beyond with a specific initiative, process, project, campaign, element or component of its program.

“It’s all about the kids and making sure it’s a positive youth development experience for them,” says Vickie Jackson, Youth Sports and Fitness Director at Fort Hood. “If they’re having fun your program will be successful.”

The Run Club features participants ages five to 18 and the Fort Hood staff caters the program curriculum to the varying ages and maturity levels of those participating.

The hour-long, twice-a-week sessions are packed with a variety of fun activities that include sprints, conditioning, tag games, relays, and track work. The club’s focus is to marry the structure of running as a healthy habit with the excitement of games, activities, and competitions to teach youth how much fun running can be.

“The youth sports staff at Fort Hood did incredible work with its Run Club, making it a fun activity that kids wanted to be a part of which was so great to see,” said John Engh, executive director of NAYS. “By keeping kids engaged in a healthy activity that helps set the foundation for leading healthy lives they are a most deserving recipient of the Excellence in Youth Sports Award.” 


The club emphasizes social connections and mental resilience, too. The games and activities woven into the sessions encourage youth to interact with one another in positive and uplifting ways to improve their sense of social well-being while forging bonds with their peers. And with the emotional strength that is needed to keep pushing oneself while learning about pacing and patience, these key life skills are cultivated that will be used for years to come. 

Since Fort Hood is a huge installation, the Youth Sports and Fitness staff focused on offering something that the entire base could experience, so the end of each Run Club season featured a family fun run on the running paths throughout the base. The event features big smiles all around, as youth who struggled through their first half mile at the start of the Run Club power through the finish line of a 3K run with their families and friends cheering them on.

And these are the special moments that they’ll carry with them forever.

Fort Hood CYS Youth Sports and Fitness is one of four organizations to earn an Excellence in Youth Sports Award this year. To be considered for an Excellence Award an organization must first be designated as a Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider. This designation shows that organizations have met benchmark standards when it comes to administering youth sports programs.

Fort Hood CYS Youth Sports and Fitness was honored during a special awards ceremony that took place at the 20th annual Youth Sports Congress in San Antonio, Texas, on Oct. 27-30. The four Excellence Award winners are also being celebrated during the NAYS Virtual Youth Sports Congress on Nov. 16-18.

Excellence Award Fort Hood Programs Running Health Exercise

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