Marines

Youth Sports Program builds success from volunteers, always needs more

29 Nov 2011 | Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

The Youth Sports Program aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is on the move.

First, it has been particularly successful in providing little to no cost extracurricular athletic outlets and mentorship opportunities for the youth aboard MCB Camp Lejeune.

Second, the Youth Sports center is in the process of relocating to a new location, due to renovations at the former Youth Sports Headquarters on Stone Street.

Chris Alger, Sports Branch head with the Semper Fit Division of Marine Corps Community Services, said the key to the program’s success is largely due to its volunteers.

“The program runs strictly on volunteers, a little more than 300 a year,” said Alger. “We supply all the gear a coach needs - uniforms and equipment - and staffing if they need extra help so they can have a successful season for the kids.”

Volunteers are clearly an important part of the Youth Sports Program. It’s not difficult to volunteer. Alger said all volunteers need is a good attitude and a willingness to work with kids.

However, due to deployment cycles and the consistent coming and going of the military lifestyle, the youth sports center is always looking for new volunteers who are willing to help with any aspect of the program.

“We never have enough because people are always coming and going,” said Alger.

The Youth Sports program covers more than 10 different sports, which have their respective matches, games, meets and tournaments each season. Another key to the  success of the Youth Sports Program is the involvement of the parents, who often go as far as to become coaches or team mom’s and dad’s.

“We see a little more than 3,000 kids in a year through the program so it’s vital that the parents, Youth Sports Program, coaches and officials all (work together) and are all on the same page,” said Alger. “We’re constantly keeping in touch with them, giving them updates, standings, rosters or field conditions – the parents are just important as anybody.”

In addition to the Youth Sports Program’s relocation, the program is also getting a new sports complex, which will be unveiled next fall.

The temporary office for the Youth Sports Program is located inside the north entrance of the Goettge Field House, facing Holcomb Boulevard. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the Youth Sports Program, call 451-2177 or visit the Youth Sports website at mccslejeune.com/youthsports.