Memorable Moments

Kevin Carter recalls one of his favorite youth sports memories—sinking 12 free throws in a row to spark his team to an exciting come-from-behind victory.

It was a rally that fueled the team with confidence—and ultimately changed its season.

“That experience helped our team keep our heads up in many game situations, and we never counted ourselves out again for that season,” Carter says.

He’s brought that same positive energy, focus, and never-give-up attitude to the town of Arlington (Tenn.), where he’s in the middle of his first year as the director of the parks and recreation department.

“Having this opportunity before me, I will continue to challenge myself to focus on what is important,” he says. “The programs we offer and look to add will need to be addressed as our community continues to grow in the years to come.”

Here’s what else he had to say about providing programming for more than 7,500 youngsters ages 4 to 18:

Fred: What do you like best about your job?

Kevin: What I like best about my job is the ability to work with the community in something that everyone loves. Whether young, middle-aged, or elderly, there is an interest in something they have related to parks and recreation. 

Fred: What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to youth sports?

Kevin: The biggest pet peeve is the complainers. Those who complain but never try to find out the reason why things are done the way they are. I was always told that if I had a complaint to get it to the right person and offer a suggestion to fix it. There is nothing worse than people complaining, just to complain.

Fred: What makes all the hard work and long hours worthwhile?

Kevin: Seeing kids give each other a high-five when they do something good for the team.  The smile and happiness are genuine at that moment and could be a moment they remember for a long time, if not forever.

Fred: Who do you most admire?

Kevin: The person I most admire is my dad. He has always been there through the good and bad times and always seems to say the right things when I need him to. He has taught me a great work ethic and that anything is achievable if you truly believe in it.

Fred: Why are you so passionate about sports and youth programming?

Kevin: The youth are our future. I believe that the more we can help support them through youth programs today will make them better prepared for developing commitments and passions for what they will ultimately decide to do in their lives.

Fred: What would you like to see more of in your program?

Kevin: I would love to see more opportunities for older youth and adults. We will be looking at ways we can continue to grow to offer these opportunities. When kids see their parents engaged and involved in community events, the more likely they will want to do the same.

Fred Engh is founder and CEO of the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) in West Palm Beach, Fla. He can be reached via email at To join more than 3,000 communities by starting a NAYS chapter, visit or contact Emmy Martinez at or (800) 729-2057.