The MCAS Miramar Youth Sports Program staff in San Diego has been impacting teen lives through a powerful initiative that prepares them for navigating life’s never-ending challenges and being productive members of society. 


Its Teen Volunteer Program brings together at-risk youngsters ages 13 to 17 who are facing financial hardships and provides them with a healthy and supportive environment where they learn life skills and grow professionally, emotionally, mentally and physically.  


Their outstanding efforts through this program helped them earn the Excellence in Youth Sports award. 


The prestigious award is presented by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and Athletic Business magazine for a specific initiative, process, project, campaign, element or component of a program that goes above and beyond. In order to be eligible for an Excellence Award an organization must first earn the Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider designation, which demonstrates that a program has taken the necessary steps to ensure quality throughout their program. 

"The impact that the program has had on our teens has been extraordinary," says Daniel Arellano, Youth Sports Director at MCAS Miramar and a Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA).

The teens are given daily and weekly duties, such as inspecting facilities and equipment, working on the grounds crew, serving as a snack bar attendant, being an administrative assistant, officiating youth sports games, and more. 

And the community has taken note. 

"We've had parents and patrons just stop by our program and acknowledge our teens out there who are pulling weeds or laying down dirt on our baseball field," Arellano says. "Those kinds of things go a long way for our teens. It gives them pride and a sense of self-worth as they get to see firsthand their contributions to our program."




Staff members supervise all assignments while emphasizing the importance of working as a team, communication and being respectful at all times.  


The teens thoroughly enjoy being an integral part of the youth sports programming, too.  

"The teens are excited to give back and to make an impact," Arellano says. 

Teens must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in order to remain in the program and the staff offers study hall sessions for all to promote the importance of academic success.

Being a military child has many challenges, as kids are continually faced with saying farewells to close friends, starting over in creating friendships, and adapting to new surroundings. Along with being a Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider, the department's Teen Volunteer Program has done an amazing job of providing youth with a life-changing source of support, care and guidance while helping them find their identity, build confidence and gain values that will help lead to a lifetime of productivity, service and happiness.

“We’re proud to say that we have trained our older teens with job-related skills to get them into the hiring field where they have obtained jobs on base, such as working in the commissary,” Arellano says. “It’s also nice for our families and our patrons who play in our sports program to go out to the local commissary and see those teens growing as individuals and growing as young adults.” 


It’s these success stories that enabled MCAS Miramar to claim an Excellence Award.  


“Receiving this award is a true honor,” Arellano says. “It makes our teens proud; it makes me proud; and it makes our community proud.”  

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