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Detroit youth sports program wins national award

three boys playing basketball
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Detroit's Parks and Recreation department were recognized with the national Excellence in Youth Sports Award.

On Friday, officials from Detroit Parks and Recreation Department were presented with the Excellence in Youth Sports Award at the annual Youth Sports Congress in Orlando, Florida.

David Miller is the interim director of the department. He said the youth program offers kids in Detroit a wide range of sports to play - all with one goal in mind: create opportunities for kids to develop healthy habits.

"I think that's where we have the biggest opportunity to improve the quality of life for our residents," Miller said.

Miller said his department has taken steps to keep fees low in the youth sports program. Department staff and volunteers make up the majority of the program's coaches and referees. And it's not focused on competition.

"(It's) good old clean fun, exercise and some camaraderie," Miller said. "So it's been easy for us to get people from the community to be involved in the activities and the sports."

Miller says the national recognition comes in part from the wide variety of sports and activities Detroit makes available to children.

Traditional sports, like basketball and baseball, are offered. But less common activities, like swimming and rowing, have also started to become popular in recent years.

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