With more than 2,000 children playing in more than 20 different sports in a given year, Fort Bliss (Texas) Youth Sports has to make sure that everyone involved in their youth sports program is on the same page – especially the parents.
Being the parent of a youngster involved in organized sports takes effort, commitment and a healthy dose of patience. Unfortunately, when there is conflict, miscommunication or disruptive behavior parents can also have a negative effect on programs.
That is why Laura Gillette, child and youth program assistant for Fort Bliss Youth Sports, decided to make it make mandatory for all parents in her leagues to attend an educational seminar hosted by the Parents Association for Youth Sports (PAYS). PAYS is an educational program offered by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) that provides communities with a simple, effective way to make parents aware of their roles and responsibilities, as well as ways they can make the youth sports experience more enjoyable and positive.
“It keeps our parents and coaches on track and builds positive character,” said Gillette. “We started using PAYS to educate our parents on sportsmanlike conduct.”
NAYS created the PAYS program because parents play such a crucial role in helping their children get the most fun out of their participation as possible. The PAYS program enables parents to help their children have truly rewarding experiences. Although now offered in an easy-to-use online format, Fort Bliss opts to hold live sessions in classroom-like settings that allow more opportunity for group discussion.
“We hope to raise awareness and educate,” said Gillette. “The area where parents most need to improve is with communication.”
Gillette admits that first-time parents often express their doubts about having to attend an educational seminar for their child to be able to play sports. However, once they attend the PAYS program and understand the atmosphere that Fort Bliss Youth Sports is trying to cultivate, they see why it is necessary.
“Parents can be the most influential figure in a child’s youth sports experience,” said Emmy Martinez, vice president of membership/education for NAYS. “Clearly Fort Bliss Youth Sports understands that and is taking responsible measures to make sure that parents always conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner and maintain proper perspective at all times.”
In 2009 alone nearly 9,000 parents from all across the country and on military bases throughout the world participated in this innovative educational program.
For more information visit www.nays.org/Parents, or contact a NAYS Chapter Development Specialist at (800) 729-2057 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.