Youth sports seeks coaches
February 20, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 20, 2014) -- The youth sports program on Fort Rucker offers children an outlet for competition and the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons, but the program wouldn't have legs to stand on if it weren't for one of its fundamental assets -- volunteer coaches.
The Fort Rucker Child, Youth and School Services Youth Sports program is looking for volunteer coaches for all sports who can stand up to the challenge when it comes to guiding and mentoring the installation's youth, said Jackie Johnson, CYSS program associate.
"We're looking for people who have the time, quality of work, responsibility, kindness and patience to teach our youth the fundamentals of youth sports," she said. "It's important that the volunteers are excited and engaging with the children because when the coaches are excited about what they're doing, then the children are more likely to have fun and participate."
Randy Tolison, Fort Rucker Youth Sports director, said that coaching is mostly about the commitment to the children and being there for them when needed the most.
"We really like to emphasize to our coaches that if they step in to fill this responsibility, those kids are depending and counting on them to be there for them," he said.
Practices and games for the younger children last about 45 minutes to an hour, said Tolison, and practices and games for the older children can last a little over an hour.
"The teams stay pretty active and can practice anywhere from two to three times a week prior to the season," he said. "When the season starts, teams will normally practice once a week and play twice a week."
Safety is also a major concern, and volunteers are properly vetted and trained to take on the responsibility. No volunteers will be turned away, said Johnson, but people interested must submit a background packet, which can be filled out in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 193, and attend a mandatory training session.
The training sessions last about three to three and a half hours, but if people aren't able to attend the session in one sitting, accommodations can be made, added the CYSS program associate.
"We understand that people are busy, and a lot of people find it difficult to come and do the training all at once," said Johnson. "We will work with them and break up the sessions into times that will accommodate them, but either way, the training must be completed."
During the training, volunteers will be given an introduction to and go over the sport that they are interested in coaching. They will also watch a parent video and a video relating to child abuse, and Tolison said the time is a good opportunity for people to ask questions.
Experienced coaches are welcomed, but experience is not necessary, said Johnson.
"We've had lots of people that started coaching by volunteering with us for the first time who said they were hesitant about doing it because they didn't have the experience," she said. "Once they came aboard and started, they had some of the best experiences with the children and loved it so much that they come back to coach for us again."
Coaching isn't all just about giving, however, said Tolison. A lot of the reward for coaching comes from seeing the children improve throughout the season, but also building relationships with the children and their Families.
"I've had some coaches tell me that the greatest thing about coaching is when a kid comes up to you outside of practice or games and just gets so excited to see you," he said. "The rewards may not be monetary, but it's one of those intangible moments that is so rewarding."
For more information, call 255-0950.