KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – When the opportunity to excel presented itself, the Baumholder Youth Sports and Fitness Division didn’t waste any time. Thanks to demonstrated superior commitment to quality and safety, the division was selected to receive the Better Sports for Kids Program Provider Award by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS).
Each competing organization was evaluated in the following categories: written policies and procedures, volunteer screening, coach training, parent education and accountability.
“Achieving this designation demonstrates our program has undergone a review process and has shown a commitment to the children and families we serve,” said Marcel Fisher, Youth Sports and Fitness director at Baumholder.
Fisher has been serving in his current role since 2019 and directs a team of four people dedicated to serving the military youth.
“Between myself as the director, Jahad Ghafari, assistant director, Andhia Campos, fitness specialist and Randy Ault, equipment & facilities support assistant, we cover a wide range of responsibilities and daily tasks,” Fisher said.
A few of the team’s responsibilities include maintenance of the high-quality program standards as determined by NAYS and the garrison, the preparation and inspection of sports fields and facilities for a safe child and youth environment, and the purchase and inventory of all sports supplies and equipment required to offer and maintain all sports programs.
The team is also responsible for budgeting and executing funds to improve and repair sports and fitness equipment during the fiscal year, as well as create and instruct fitness and outreach activities.
“We train and supervise all volunteers assigned to sports teams, complete all required background checks for said volunteers, communicate and function with other CYS Army and Air Force youth sports programs for a fun and safe sports season – while addressing the needs of the community and implementing new and exciting programs for our CYS patrons,” Fisher said.
“There is a lot more to it than simply pumping up basketballs and ordering a few uniforms,” he added.
The Youth Sports and Fitness Division falls under U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program’s Child and Youth Services. They offer 18 different sports programs targeting age groups from 3-15 years old.
“We generally record around 700 to 800 registrations for our sports program and several thousand participants from our Outreach/Fitness program every year,” said Fisher.
The Better Sports for Kids Program Provider Award is presented on a yearly basis. According to Fisher, the number of programs/ organizations that apply and receive this award varies from year to year, but it is open to all youth sports and youth recreation programs across the world that represent NAYS.
“I was informed by NAYS that our Baumholder Youth Sports & Fitness team was the only CYS Army program in Germany to receive this renewal designation award for 2023,” he said.
The Baumholder Youth Sports and Fitness Division was presented with the award for the first time in 2020.
“Receiving the award back then led us to our NAYS Excellence Award in 2021, making it a historic year for CYS Baumholder.”
NAYS awards the designation based on the top categories and criteria that programs are evaluated on.
“To be chosen for this award, you not only have to meet every standard, but you need to exceed them at a superior level while being consistent with offering and executing sophisticated sports programs,” Fisher said.
“I also think that we distinguish ourselves from other programs as one of the smallest communities in Germany with devotion and creativity, while still maintaining the three pillars to youth sports and fitness programs: player safety, developmentally appropriate sports and fitness activities, and fun and engaging programs.”
Fisher said he is grateful for all the support he received from the Baumholder military community.
“What we lack in size and numbers we make up for in community togetherness and excellence.”
For more information about the programs offered visit https://baumholder.armymwr.com/programs/youth-sports-fitness.
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz serves, supports, and secures the total force community enabling power projection for the European Theater.