The National Alliance for Youth Sports launched the Sports Parent Pledge to help change an important part of the equation for safe and fun youth sports: sports parents. With youth sports violence dominating the news, NAYS called on sports parents to spread the message of positive youth sports in their own communities. By giving sports parents resources to band together, positive change can take place.
The Sports Parent Pledge is a six-week email series that provides parents information they can use to help create memorable experiences that each child deserves. It is perfect for youth sports programs to use, especially before sports seasons since parents will receive reminders and ideas on ways they can promote good sportsmanship all season long.
More than 1,100 parents have signed up for the Sports Parent Pledge since the initiative launched.
“Season after season parents have the opportunity to be a part of a league where we want sportsmanship to redefine competition,” said Tory Miller Mocock, athletic program manager at the City of Raleigh (N.C.) Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
Mocock says that while parents receive the code of conduct, material on why children play sports and attend parent meetings with department staff or their child’s coach, the Sports Parent Pledge offers a new perspective to uphold sportsmanship in the stands.
“By using the Sports Parent Pledge, we allow parents to take a different approach,” she said. “They are the ones taking the initiative to say, ‘I took the pledge,’ and by doing so agree to hold themselves, their guests and their players to a higher standard.”
RECREATION AGENCIES SEEING RESULTS
Like the Raleigh athletics program, Manhattan (Kan.) Parks and Recreation was one of the earliest adopters of the Sports Parent Pledge.
“We have continued to offer the Sports Parent Pledge, and will continue to do so, because we are dedicated to creating a fun, safe learning environment for our young sports participants and parent education is crucial,” said Chris Nelson, youth sports supervisor at Manhattan Parks and Recreation. “The pledge is a great educational feature and is an opportunity to provide that education to our parents. We see its benefits being endless and crucial in the success of our youth sports programs.”
The pledge is a resource parents can use to improve youth sports for their children, as well as others in their community.
“I joined the Sports Parent Pledge after experiencing three episodes of concerning behavior between parents, coaches and referees during our first year of travel soccer in 2014,” said one parent who took the pledge. “Taking the pledge validated my values and gave me resources to use to support and communicate my values. It has inspired me to be a proactive steward of these values for all youth activities my son gets involved in.”
Youth sports administrators witness the Sports Parents Pledge making a real difference in parent behavior, too.
“As I observe programs, it seems as if there is tranquility among the parents and spectators at times, when there used to be such potential for agitation,” said Nelson. “Our hope is that as the pledge continues to grow it will have a snowball effect and the participants can enjoy 100 percent of the experience on the diamond, field or court.”
Mocock adds, “Our parents have been vocal about taking the pledge. They are encouraging other parents to take the pledge and the ones that have done so are recognizing the benefits. We have even had players call their parents out on the way they react at a game after taking the pledge. We believe, overall, the Sports Parent Pledge has been a benefit to our league and our players.”
The Sports Parent Pledge is offered through the Parents Association for Youth Sports (PAYS), a parent orientation and sportsmanship program developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports. To learn how you can implement the Sports Parent Pledge in your youth sports program contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nays.org/sportsparentpledge.Parent Pledge Good Sportsmanship PAYS
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