Making Memories in the Dawg Pound

Making Memories in the Dawg Pound


(Pictured above from left to right: Alvin Koposko, James Ussery, Chad Barkalow and Dave Wilcox.)

The youth sports staff at RAF Mildenhall Youth Programs in England watched with great admiration the resilience and resolve displayed by its youth sports participants during the pandemic.

And it tapped into that energy and enthusiasm for participating while committing to enhancing its programs for all involved through an exciting new idea which earned it a prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award.

The Excellence in Youth Sports Award is given for a specific initiative, process, project, campaign, element or component of a program that goes above and beyond. This invitation-only award recognizes the innovative ways organizations that have earned the Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider designation are making their programs stand out and truly become excellent.

Through its Mad Dawg Youth Sports Initiative it dialed into three key areas that has made a difference in its programming:

First, it rebranded its programs, incorporating a Mad Dawg logo to promote togetherness and dedication among staff, volunteers, and participants.

“You have to love what you do,” says Chad Barkalow, the Youth Sports Director at RAF Mildenhall and a Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA). “We love being here and the parents and the volunteers and the kids see that.”

Secondly, the staff presents Top Dawg awards to its top coaches and volunteers based on the individual’s dedication, their communication with their teams, how they interact with players, how they promote the program’s values, and more.

“We really want our coaches and our volunteers to know how much we appreciate them,” Barkalow says. “They’re having fun, they’re seeing the change and they want to come back.”

And third, it has upgraded its community outreach efforts and recruits new volunteers to help improve, innovate, and support the program goals. Plus, the initiative is being shared with other Air Force bases nearby.

This exciting new initiative is helping retain coaches, inspire new volunteers to step forward, and provide fun-filled experiences for the kids competing in and around the Dawg Pound.

RAF Mildenhall Excellence Award Leadership Coaching Volunteers

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