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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Yokosuka Naval Base has received the National Alliance for Youth Sports Excellence in Youth Sports Award for 2007.

Isaiah Minks, youth sports director at Yokosuka’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and base spokeswoman Michelle Stewart said it’s the first time the award has gone to a Navy base youth sports program.

The alliance’s Web site said five awards are presented each year to “recognize special organizations worldwide that operate diverse youth sports programs focused on providing positive and safe experiences for all participants.”

Minks said 2007 was the fourth year Yokosuka submitted a package to the program and credits the award to the work of 200 volunteer coaches and the program’s emphasis on sportsmanship and maximum participation.

Minks said coaches must attend mandatory NAYS-sponsored training and must adhere to a code of ethics.

“We are a recreational league that builds players and self-esteem,” Minks said. “For the most part, parents involved with our youth programs prefer a fun and safe environment that involves everyone over that of one that stresses competition.”

Dawn Cutler, whose 7-year-old daughter Danielle plays floor hockey, said from a parent’s point of view the Yokosuka program is impressive.

“They’re very well organized and teach the children athletic skills in a way that is fun for everyone,” she said.

For more information on developing youth sports programs and the National Alliance for Youth Sports, visit www.nays.org.


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