Volunteers have always played a crucial role in youth sports. From coaching to carpooling and everything in between, volunteers play an important role in ensuring the fluidity of youth sports programs. In fact, volunteers – often the parents of a child in the league – run many youth sports leagues today.
These volunteer administrators take on a variety of duties – from being the president of the league, to sitting on the Board of Directors in positions like treasurer, equipment manager or fundraising/sponsorship coordinator, just to name a few.
While volunteer administrators have the best intentions, many have little to no formal training in youth sports administration – and that can spell huge problems for them, their program and, most importantly, the well-being of the participants.
The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) recognized many years ago that volunteer-based youth sports programs needed a resource to help prepare volunteer administrators for their enormous responsibilities, since the decisions they make and the policies they enforce have such major ramifications for everyone involved in the program. NAYS developed the National Youth Sports Administrators Association (NYSAA) to provide education and liability protection for individuals who volunteer to be part of a league's leadership team. The NYSAA program was recently revamped and is now offered exclusively online.
“This is an outstanding program,” said David Moriarty, a board member of the Rush Henrietta (New York) Athletic Association. “The clinic gave me great insight as to the huge amount of responsibility volunteer board members have when running a program that is safe and fun for all participating.”
The NYSAA online clinic consists of eight sections covering the most important aspects of youth sports administration, including how to manage their volunteer coaches, work with parents, officials and other participants, develop a volunteer board, protect the program against embezzlement, insurance and how to use fundraising and marketing to support their league, among others.
“The online format allows the user to work at their own pace,” said Beth Zimmermann, director of operations at Hurricanes Select Baseball, Inc. in Waukesha, Wis. “That is critical to establish a thorough understanding of the material.”
“The online clinic can be done in a private setting at a time when the person taking it can really read things,” added Phil Bourque, commissioner at Forsyth County Youth Football Association in Cumming, Ga. He explains that in his experience with in-class trainings, attendees often plan to read the materials when they get home, but usually end up forgetting.
To read the rest of this article, which appeared in the Summer issue of SportingKid magazine, log in to your member area and click on "SportingKid."