Fort Knox youth fall sports open for sign-ups; volunteer coaches also needed

By Jenn DeHaanMay 17, 2023

Parents can now sign their children up for the 2023 Child and Youth Services fall sports and instructional programs season. Youth Sports and Fitness director Ryan Lewis says volunteers are needed to coach.
Parents can now sign their children up for the 2023 Child and Youth Services fall sports and instructional programs season. Youth Sports and Fitness director Ryan Lewis says volunteers are needed to coach. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ryan Lewis, Fort Knox CYS) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. – Parents who can now sign their children up for the 2023 Child and Youth Services fall sports season are also being asked to consider volunteering to coach.

Youth Sports and Fitness director Ryan Lewis said CYS offers a variety of sports, fitness and other programs year-round. He encouraged parents to consider the many different options available for their children.

“This fall we’ll have NFL flag football, soccer and cheerleading, as well as dance, gymnastics and music [lessons],” said Lewis. “All of those will fall under the fall sports and instructional programs umbrella.”

Because the Fort Knox community is spread out across different counties both inside and outside the post gates, Lewis said it can be difficult to get the word out about opportunities for families.

“A lot of parents tell us they don’t know about the programs,” said Lewis. “We do market all over the installation, but a lot of times parents don’t see or live off post and may not hear about us.”

According to Lewis, CYS provides quality equipment and facilities for all of the different sports and programs. He said there’s something available for all ages from toddlers to teens.

“We start our instructional programs for gymnastics at 18 months,” said Lewis. “Parents can participate in a gymnastics class with their child and work on motor skills.

“A lot of parents like that because it can be their child’s first exposure to sports or fitness.”

Soccer is open to children from ages 3 to Under-19, as well as various age ranges for football. He said there are other great options in addition to team sports.

“It’s not just traditional bat and ball sports,” said Lewis. “We offer functional fitness training for kids who want to get into fitness but aren’t sure how.”

With the many different programs open for beginners and advanced levels alike, Lewis said all parents have to do is to stop by the Fort Knox office to get started.

“In order to sign up for our programs, parents need to first be registered with CYS,” said Lewis. “They can do that at Building 500 on post, which is Parent Central Services off Spearhead Division Avenue.”

Once registered, Lewis said parents can either enroll their children in fall sports and instructional programs directly at Parent Central Services, or online at WebTrac once they obtain an account.

“On WebTrac parents can see all the programs that we offer, including our summer camps leading up to the fall,” said Lewis. “All of that is already up for them to register.”

Lewis advised all parents to get their children the required sports physical before registering. He also provided another important suggestion.

“Sign up as early as you can,” said Lewis. “You want to make sure you get in and get a spot. We typically get a bunch of people signing up right as the window is about to close, so early registration is important.”

While there’s never a shortage of children enrolling in CYS programs, Lewis said there’s always a need for volunteer coaches. He pointed out, however, that having a child involved isn’t a requirement to coach.

“It doesn’t just have to be parents,” said Lewis. “We take single Soldiers, parents whose children have grown up and just want to volunteer their time – anyone who wants to fill out an application.”

Lewis explained all new coach applicants will go through an in-depth federal background check. An application that is cleared is good for five years, allowing coaches to return year after year and be involved in multiple sports without having to fill out a new application each time.

Choosing to coach also comes with incentives.

“We provide the means for Soldiers who volunteer to work toward awards and earn promotion points,” said Lewis. “We write memos stating how much time they’ve dedicated to volunteering to give back to the coaches.”

For coaches who have children in any of the programs, there is another benefit.

“Anyone who volunteers to head coach can enroll all their children for free,” said Lewis. “Assistant coach volunteers receive their first child’s enrollment free, and additional children are discounted.”

Regardless of what sport a parent chooses to coach, Lewis said each one child can participate in any of the available programs either at no cost or at a discount. They will also always coach their own child for those enrolled in a particular sport.

The key, Lewis said, is to get enough applicants.

“We never want to leave kids on the wait list, but it all depends on how many coaches we have,” said Lewis. “There’s always a team that needs a head or assistant coach, or a camp needing volunteers.”

Lewis said although CYS offers incentives for volunteers, that’s far from the biggest benefit of the experience.

“There’s a rewarding feeling of coaching and seeing kids develop,” said Lewis. “A lot of kids are only here two or three years, so for them to have good coaches means a lot.”