Excellence at Eglin

Excellence at Eglin


During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 the youth sports programs at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida were one of thousands forced to shut down.

But while the fields and courts at Eglin were empty, Youth Sports and Fitness Program Director Ernest Bracey was as busy as ever.

Planning and plotting ways for Eglin’s programs to flourish post-pandemic, he teamed with the base’s savvy IT department to create an innovative online registration program that has been praised and celebrated by busy parents.

And helped earn the department a prestigious Excellence in Youth Sports Award.

The Excellence in Youth Sports Award is given for a specific initiative, process, project, campaign, element or component of a program that goes above and beyond. This invitation-only award recognizes the innovative ways organizations that have earned the Better Sports for Kids Quality Program Provider designation are making their programs stand out and truly become excellent.

“I was thinking outside the box,” Bracey says.

Was he ever.

The user-friendly and creative marketing system enables moms and dads to sign up their kids from the comfort of home while being exposed to a ton of important information. Plus, instead of having to show up at the office during specific hours of the day to register their kids like they were forced to in the past, they now have the luxury of completing the registration process whenever they choose.

“It’s being resourceful and knowing the right people to connect with at the right time,” Bracey says. “I’ve been working with our marketing office for six years so we have very good rapport.”

All the program flyers and posters also feature a QR code, a clever addition Bracey worked in to help promote all aspects of Eglin’s programs. The QR code drives parents to the base’s youth page, where besides registering their child they can check out all the program offerings, review various sports manuals, policies, and more.

The stress-free online registration process has re-energized parents, boosted participation numbers, and created a buzz of excitement throughout the base as the programs are full and kids are back playing the sports they love.  

“I’m always trying to raise the bar,” Bracey says. “There is nothing better than watching the kids on Game Days.”

Eglin Air Force Base Excellence Award Innovation Participation

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