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NCYS and AIG Name Stamford JCC as the 2014 S.T.R.I.V.E. Organization of the Year!

Stuart, Florida (November 21, 2014). The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) are pleased to announce that the Stamford Jewish Community Center has been named the 2014 S.T.R.I.V.E. (Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence) Organization of the Year for its “kids first” approach to safety. Since opening its doors in 1916, the Stamford JCC has become a valuable community resource, especially well-known for its continuum of safe, supportive, and inclusive health and fitness programs for children and youth of all abilities, backgrounds, and financial circumstances.

Presented by NCYS and sponsored by AIG, the S.T.R.I.V.E. Organization of the Year Award, now in its third year, honors youth and amateur sports organizations that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to keeping young athletes safe. During the September 24th through October 15th voting period, more than 15,500 votes were cast on the NCYS S.T.R.I.V.E. website to determine the winning organization from the top five finalists.

“America rallied to select the top youth sports organization that has demonstrated a heartfelt passion, an enthusiastic commitment and a contagious spirit to help kids succeed in amateur youth sports activities while implementing responsible and dependable best practices, policies and procedures,” said Sally Johnson, Executive Director of NCYS. “With special thanks to our NCYS sponsor AIG, this award recognizes an organizations’ commitment to kids’ health, wellness and safety, demonstrating to young people that Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence (S.T.R.I.V.E.) in a safe, fun, positive environment.”

“We are delighted that Stamford Jewish Community Center has been named as the recipient of the 2014 S.T.R.I.V.E. Organization of the Year,” said Curt Olson, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIG Benefit Solutions. “The organization’s commitment to health, fun and fitness, personal challenge, and community spirit for all is extremely inspiring. We are proud to help honor an organization dedicated to the success and safety of young athletes on and off the court and help bring greater awareness to the positive benefits of amateur youth sports.”

The search for the 2014 S.T.R.I.V.E. Organization of the Year Award winner began in August with a nomination period calling for youth and amateur sports organizations that have implemented at least three health and safety initiatives within their organization. The “Five for S.T.R.I.V.E.” finalists were: Baton Rouge Soccer Association (Baton Rouge, LA); Boys & Girls Club of Cypress (Cypress, CA); Dixie Softball (Birmingham, AL); Inter Tribal Sports (Temecula, CA); Stamford Jewish Community Center (Stamford, CT).

The winning organization, Stamford JCC, has more than 1,500 kids ages three to sixteen taking part in their "kids-first" recreational activities, created to promote such attributes as teamwork, community engagement, and sportsmanship; self-esteem and self-discipline - as exemplified in the following three popular initiatives.
1) Discover CATCH is a research-validated program, developed to prevent childhood obesity, by promoting lifelong health and fitness habits. As an integral part of the JCC's preschool program, it provides an abundance of non-competitive activities, using a variety of active, experiential, and social learning strategies to engage children of all abilities in wholesome fun, while empowering them to make healthy choices.

2) The JCC Kids Triathlon is another outstanding example of their commitment to inspiring active and healthy lifestyles. Since its inception in 2010, it has attracted nearly 800 kids, ages four to fourteen, while also garnering special recognition in Stamford Magazine as one of the 25 "best things" about their city. Triathletes train for and take part in three activities - swimming, cycling, and running - all of which are viable and affordable, lifetime fitness options. To ensure participant well-being, they require industry-approved athletic gear, adhere to age-appropriate safety guidelines, and supply ample hydration, during both training and competition.

3) The JCC Maccabi Games© is an annual Olympic-style, global sporting competition for Jewish teenagers. In addition to encouraging healthy fun and physical fitness, this competition is designed to foster mutual respect, effective teamwork, community involvement, and good sportsmanship. In preparing for this event, JCC staff and trained volunteers provide continuous coaching and targeted education around safe and respectful practices on the playing field.

In describing the lifelong impact this program, Rachel Rothman - a former Maccabi athlete, turned adult volunteer nearly a decade later - puts it best: "What makes Maccabi so special is that everyone from the truly gifted athlete to a very recreational one will have the same amazing experience. As a Maccabi athlete who never came home with a medal, the impact the games made on my life was so significant that it keeps me wanting to come back year after year as a volunteer coach."

About The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS)
The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) leads the amateur youth sports industry as the largest known youth-serving organization in America. The NCYS is well-regarded for its advocacy in promoting healthy lifestyles and safe environments for stronger neighborhood and communities. Founded in 1979, the NCYS members comprise the Who’s Who in youth sports. The NCYS membership represents more than 220 organizations/corporations serving 60-million boys and girls registered in organized amateur youth sports programs. NCYS is the portal and a united voice for amateur youth sports, leading the industry in promoting and enhancing the value of participation through advocacy and education. NCYS’ reason to exist is to enhance the youth sports experience in America with a passion to create a better, more wholesome society for today and for generations to come!

Additional information about NCYS can be found at | LinkedIn: | Facebook: | Twitter:@youthsportsNCYS

About AIG
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Additional information about AIG can be found at| YouTube: |Twitter: @AIG_LatestNews | LinkedIn:

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Sally S. Johnson, CSA, IOM
Executive Director
National Council of Youth Sports

Eileen Hampton
Director Community Relations and Communications
AIG | Marketing | AIG Benefit Solutions