FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 1, 2013) -- Fort Rucker's Youth Sports program offers children of all ages an outlet to compete in friendly competitions through a wide range of activities, but an upcoming competition will put their skills to the test and give them the opportunity to shine on a national level.

Punt, Pass & Kick, a program developed by the National Football League, comes to Fort Rucker Aug. 10, and will be held at the youth football field from 9 a.m. to noon to give children an introduction to the game of football, according to Leroy Minus, child youth and school services youth sports assistant fitness director.

"This is one of those activities that we thought could reach out to children to get them involved," said Minus. "It teaches the children about the game, but it also encourages children to learn about fitness and keeping their bodies in shape."

He added that Fort Rucker hosts similar events for other sports, but this is the first time that the installation has hosted an event like this for football.

As the name suggests, the competition will consist of three classes -- punting, passing and kicking -- and the competition is open to boys and girls, ages 6-15. Boys and girls will compete separately, and there will be five age categories that they will compete in -- 6 and 7; 8 and 9; 10 and 11; 12 and 13; and 14 and 15.

The competition is open and free to all children who are registered with CYSS.

Each participant will be allowed one punt, one pass and one placekick as part of his or her competition, according to the program's website, www.nflppk.com, and scores are based on both distance and accuracy.

"If a participant passes the ball 100 feet, but the ball lands 30 feet to the right of the measuring tape, the final score is calculated by deducting 30 from 100," read the website as an example of how the scoring will be determined. The scores will be based on exact feet and inches.

The cumulative score of all three classes will determine the participant's final score.

The competition will give those who excel an opportunity to move beyond the event at Fort Rucker and even try their hand at reaching the national level.

The top finishers in each age category for both boys and girls will advance to the sectional round where they will compete against other boys and girls of the same age group from other local competitions, according the to website. From sectionals, participants will compete to move onto the Team Championships, then the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Team Championship, where they will compete for a spot in the National Championship.

No football shoes, turf shoes, cleats or bare feet are permitted in the competition -- only soft-sole gym shoes. All other equipment will be provided by Fort Rucker Youth Sports, and participants may not use their own equipment, according to the website's regulations.

The NFL developed the Punt, Pass & Kick program as a better way to teach the fundamentals of football and help children better understand teamwork, but an added benefit to the program is the promote fitness and wellness in Fort Rucker's youth, said Minus.

"We're dealing with obesity more than ever (in this country), and this program, as well as our youth sports program, teaches children the importance of their wellbeing," he said. "It builds on their confidence and helps build their social skills, and the way fitness is lacking today, it's a pretty important task that needs to be done."

"We feel that it's important for children to stay active," said Randy Tolison, youth sports and fitness director. "There is an obesity epidemic going around and we (here on Fort Rucker) are not exempt from that, so we want our children to be in shape, feel good about themselves and feel like they can compete with the next level."

For more information or to register, call 255-2254 or 255-2257.

Page last updated Thu August 1st, 2013 at 00:00