Children participating in sports programs at Child and Youth Programs, Naval Support Activity, Panama City (Fla.) are lucky – that’s because they’ve got Jenny Howell on their side.

The tireless, enthusiastic and always smiling Howell exemplifies what youth sports parenting is all about.

No matter what the sport she embraces the role of Team Mom because she cares deeply about every child’s emotional and physical well-being and helping ensure they have a positive experience.

Howell is this year’s Parents Association for Youth Sports Parent of the Year. Each year the National Alliance for Youth Sports honors one outstanding sports parent as the PAYS Parent of the Year. The tremendous impact that parents have on youth sports programs across the country is evident by the hundreds of nominations received for this prestigious honor.  

Parent of the Year nominations are reviewed for how well the nominee exemplifies the PAYS Parents Code of Ethics, founded on tenets like placing the emotional and physical well-being of children ahead of a personal desire to win, encouraging a playing environment of good sportsmanship and supporting the coaches and officials of the program.

“I’m a mom so my job is to help out,” says Howell, whose sons are ages 7 (Tyler) and 4 (Carter). “I want my kids to have a good experience so I want to be able to contribute to their good experience so that’s how I got involved helping out. It makes it fun because my kids are having fun and the youth center does a fantastic job at organizing and getting people involved. When you have an organization that is well run it makes it easy to volunteer for it.”

Howell received her award during the annual Youth Sports Congress, which took place recently in New Orleans. Nationwide Insurance is the proud sponsor of the PAYS Parent of the Year award. Nationwide contributes valuable prizes and monetary contributions in honor of great parents across the country.

One of Howell’s many outstanding attributes is that she understands the true value and importance of good sportsmanship and is a model of it at all times.

“What I always try to make sure that I do is if I hear a yell or a comment that isn’t quite as positive I always follow it up with ‘good job,’ ‘keep hustling,’ ‘good try,’ or something like that,” Howell says.

Despite the busy work schedules she and her husband have, she always has a smile on her face and positive and encouraging words for all the young athletes.

So it’s easy to see why she is loved by the kids and deeply appreciated by the recreation staff for all she does.

Parent of the Year Sportsmanship

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