By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJuly 12, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 12, 2012) -- Fort Rucker Youth Sports holds registration for fall youth sports now through July 31.
"We want kids on Fort Rucker to have a great experience with youth sports," said Leroy Minus, Child Youth and School Services youth sports and assistant fitness director. "We want to give these kids a quality program and that's the main thing, so when their parents come, they see that we're actually taking the time for their kids."
The sports that will be offered this fall are soccer, cheerleading, tackle football and tennis, with different age groups for each sport, according to the assistant director.
Fall soccer will be offered in age groups of 4-5 year olds, which is the training league; 6-7 year olds, which is the Pee Wee league; 8-10 year olds, which is the Midgets league; and 11-14 year olds, which is the Juniors league, said Minus, adding that the cost for the 4-5 year-old age group has been reduced to $20 per child, but the cost for ages 6 and older have remained the same at $40 per child.
"We reduced the cost for soccer so that we can make it easier for parents to get their kids involved," he said.
Each season the department can have anywhere from 150-200 children participating in soccer alone, said Minus. With this amount of participation, the teams are systematically put together to ensure that siblings can play together if they are in the same age group, and that boys and girls are evenly distributed throughout the teams.
"We will do a girls line-up before we distribute the boys because we want to try to have at least 2 to 3 girls on each team," he said. "We won't usually do a skills assessment of the kids, so different skill levels will play with each other."
Cheerleading is another sport offered for the youth on Fort Rucker and is available in four different age groups: 4-5 year-old Pee Wee mascots, 6-7 year-old Midget mascots, 8-10 year-old Pee Wee cheerleaders and 11-12 year-old Midget cheerleaders.
The cost of cheerleading is $40 and enrollment is limited to two mascots per age group and the first 12 cheerleaders to sign up, said Minus.
Cheerleading and football go hand in hand, and tackle football is another sport that will be offered for fall youth sports, but will only offer one team per age group with only two different age groups: 8-10 year-old Pee Wee and 11-12 year-old Midgets, said the assistant director, adding that enrollment will be limited to the first 27 players per age group.
"Our installation isn't large enough for us to have multiple teams," he said. "But we do play with outside organizations so [the children] will play teams from Troy, Brundidge, Skipperville, Daleville and Ozark."
The cost for tackle football is $65 per child. Fort Rucker also offers tennis for 8-17 year olds and the cost is $40 per child.
Parents can also become more involved in their children's sports teams by becoming a coach. Minus said the youth sports department is always looking for good youth coaches.
Before a parent or Soldier can become a coach, they must go through a background check and coaches training to be able to participate, according to Minus.
"[The coaches] will learn about child abuse, learn about coaching youth sports and they learn about our six pillars of character," which are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship, he said. "We teach them this so when the coaches step out on that field with those kids, they know our standards."
Parent meetings are held to teach parents of the standards that are upheld by each of the coaches and what the department expects of them, said the assistant director. The meetings are also where parents learn how they should act at their children's games by supporting them, their teams and their coaches.
"We believe, since we are a military installation, that we are representing the U.S. Army," he said. "You have a responsibility as a parent to support your kid the right way and we want to show that."
The next parent meeting will be held Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Youth Center Gymnasium, Bldg. 2806 on 7th Avenue.
"I think the greatest thing that we get out of this is when we see the kids progress in sports and see that the same kids continually sign up for different sports," said Minus. "That shows that we're doing a great job and it shows that they are having fun -- that's what we're offering here."
For more information on youth sports, parent meetings or coaching, call 255-9105 or 255-0950.