Don’t wait for something to happen in your organization
Youth sports programs are the backbone of all communities. All youth serving sports organizations strive to create a safe environment for its members, while teaching athletic skills and hopefully learning experiences children will carry with them for a life time. Unfortunately, recent allegations of child sexual abuse in the media have left many parents unsure of who they should trust their child with and adult volunteers questioning whether they want to step up and mentor other children, for fear they might be falsely accused of inappropriate behavior. Sadly, many past situations of child sexual abuse could have been minimized and even avoided if the organizations and institutions involved, as well as parents and players were educated and made aware of the child sexual abuse problem that is so pervasive in our culture.
It is vital that youth sports organizations create a culture where child sexual abuse is discussed, addressed and prevented with its adult volunteers. Regrettably, most youth programs rely only the CORI form as a way of screening potential volunteers. Although this is an important first step, it can provide a false sense of security that inhibits the implementation of other more proactive steps that need to be taken.
Putting Children First provides a two hour workshop for coaches that will provide a better understanding of the issues of sexual abuse (something the average person has trouble even beginning to understand!) as well as provide coaches guidelines to help your volunteers feel more comfortable in their roles. These guidelines will be tailored to meet the individual needs of your specific sport. Ongoing support throughout the season should any situations arise is also provided and your board of directors will receive documentation of participant attendance for recordkeeping. This program provides protection for EVERYONE in your program and sends a very strong message that your organization takes the potential of child sexual abuse very seriously.
Remember: When running a program, it’s always better to be PROACTIVE than REACTIVE!
Can your organization pass this check list?
· A Board of Directors dedicated to raising awareness and the prevention of child sexual abuse?
· A volunteer background application to compliment the CORI form?
· Mandatory training for all volunteers who come into contact with the youth in your program during the season?
· Guidelines and policies that everyone in your organization strictly adheres to?
· Certificates of training attendance and documentation for recordkeeping?
· Free professional support and advice during the season?
Let Putting Children First help you with your checklist!