- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
The National Trail Parks and Recreation District was recently honored by a national organization for having outstanding youth sports programs.
The district recently received the National Excellence Award for Youth Sports Standards from the National Alliance for Youth Sports at its annual Youth Sports Congress earlier this month in Orlando, Fla.
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It was one of five districts chosen out of 150 applicants nationwide, including youth organizations and military bases, Recreation Superintendent Miste Adams said. National Trail also won the award in 2000, Adams said.
“It’s an exciting thing,” she said.
The organization saw more than 150,000 program attendees and more than 1.5 million visitors to the parks in 2016. NTPRD typically sees more than 1,000 children participate in both its spring and fall soccer programs this year, she said, its most popular program.
“It’s about getting the kids active and their social skills, giving them something positive to do,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re doing it the best way possible.”
The district was honored for doing what’s best for children, including performing background checks and training certificates for coaches, Adams said.
“We’re putting the kids first,” she said.
The organization was also praised for having a large amount of programming and implementing it with a small staff, Adams said.
“We’re going up against these huge agencies that have unbelievable budgets,” she said. “It’s really a great team effort.”
National Trail has about a $61 million economic impact on the local community, NTPRD Director Leann Castillo said. The district offers a wide range of facilities and parks for all ages, including Splash Zone Family Aquatic Center, the Carleton Davidson baseball stadium, the NTPRD Chiller Ice Arena and Snyder Park.
National Trail has an annual budget of about $3 million with 17 full-time employees and about 75 seasonal employees. It maintains more than 1,300 acres of parks, 30 miles of roads and trails, 15 miles of river, 16 acres of ponds and lagoons and 20 acres of wetlands.
“We’re very proud of what they do for our entire county,” Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said.
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