MESQUITE, Nev. - The second-placer finisher in the 2008 Military Long Drive Championship wishes more kids would get involved with the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command's Child, Youth and School Services Sports and Fitness programs.

Army veteran Brandon Boehmer volunteers his time to work with youngsters in the MWR program at Camp Zama, Japan, where he coached two basketball teams to undefeated seasons earlier this year. Boehmer, who also helps organize youth leagues on post, recently began coaching youth flag football.

He loves to see kids forego playing video games to go outside and get dirty.

"When I grew up, we didn't watch TV at our house," said Boehmer, 26. "It wasn't that my parents were mean. They've been great my entire life. They wanted us to get out of the house because the video-game revolution had just started."

Sports and fitness programs provide options for children to participate in physical activities for fun and help them develop healthy habits. Those skills can help achieve balanced lifestyles. The programs introduce youngsters to a variety of traditional and non-traditional sports, games and activities and helps teach them sportsmanship, team-building, goal-setting and self-discipline in a positive setting.

"It's important that they learn discipline in sports because I know I was kind of a hoodlum until I got into sports," Boehmer said. "It straightened me out."

The CYS Services Sports and Fitness program has established a partnership with the National Alliance for Youth Sports. Through NAYS, coaches are trained, parents are educated, and children can attain valuable motor and technical sports skills.

The Army strives to offer these sports and fitness programs worldwide. In fiscal 2007 alone, 92,758 youngsters participated in Army Sports and Fitness programs, including 26,757 outside the continental United States, said Donna McGrath, CYS Sports and Fitness Program Manager.

Boehmer believes military youth sports programs are even more significant overseas than in the United States.

"Oh, definitely," he said. "The kids are in small communities overseas and the only people that speak the same language as them are the kids they go to school with. It's real easy to go off base and get in trouble."