The Danbury Athletic Youth Organization (DAYO) held its annual Football and Cheer Banquet on January 20, 2017 at the Amber Room Colonnade. This has been an ongoing tradition for over 25 years. The banquet is a celebration of the football and cheerleading programs. We want our DAYO families to attend this evening, when we recognize all of the players, coaches and volunteers and show our appreciation to all involved. All athletes receive an award.
Trophies are given for perfect attendance and 5+ years of participation. We strongly feel that the award received by each athlete is earned by their individual work and efforts. As we all know, every participant has different skill levels. We take into consideration that football and cheerleading are huge commitments made by our athletes. These boys and girls practice at least three times a week, with a game each week. In addition to rigorous practice, these athletes must perform well in their academics. The awards, we feel, are earned by their hard work and commitment to their football or cheer program.
Special awards are given to selected athletes, including the Steve Kaplanis Sportsmanship Award. This award was created as a remembrance of one of the founders of DAYO. Steve Kaplanis was a successful coach and mentor to many children in our community.
He had the ability to get the most out of every player regardless of ability. He gave his participants the confidence necessary to go out and perform to the best of their ability each and every game. Each year, we select a player and a cheerleader from each level that exemplifies that same character and love of the game. No one knows who will be receiving the awards until the night of the banquet. The recipients of the award are nicely surprised. This is a tradition that all the kids look forward to and they feel special when they are the ones receiving the Steve Kaplanis Sportsmanship Award. It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected for this special recognition.
One of the highlights of the evening is our Motivational Guest Speaker. It could be someone from the community that will give a speech to our young athletes in an effort to keep them engaged in positive life skills, dedication, teamwork, commitment and perseverance.
It is also an evening where the Football Commissioner, the Cheer Commissioner and the coaches speak to their team and the players, featuring a recap of the season and acknowledgement of special moments they had shared. It is a night where all football players and cheerleaders are aware that this night is about them; it’s about who they are and what they bring to their team. It is also for them to know that other adults besides their parents or legal guardians care about them. We want all participants to enjoy themselves and learn life-long values. Our mission is to continue providing an athletic program to our youth in a safe and structured environment. DAYO places emphasis on quality programs in all our youth sports.