The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in Jacksonville is committed to providing its youth sports programs with the best officials possible – and it shows.
Earlier this year it established a chapter of the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) to train its officials through NAYS’ National Youth Sports Officials Association (NYSOA) program. More than 70 officials have already gone through the program to enhance their knowledge of officiating youth sports events.
“It helps us have the best officials and to provide a safe environment,” said Burt Cannon, senior program director for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “The curriculum is the best. It helps us put the best refs on the field or court. By using the tips (from the NYSOA program) every time they go out and ref it eventually will become second nature to them.”
These individuals officiate games for more than 15,000 youth sports participants who live in the Jacksonville area.
The NYSOA is a membership and education program designed to help both veteran and beginning officials have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities so that they can use their positions of authority to make a positive difference. The NYSOA provides training, support and continuing education to officials in out-of-school youth sports programs.
Attendees participate in an interactive video, successfully complete an exam and sign the NYSOA Code of Ethics Pledge. The clinic also includes the distribution of a journal, providing an important message about youth sports.
YMCA of Florida’s First Coast decided to offer the NYSOA program in order to provide some training and resources for their loyal officials. However, the real benefactors are the children playing in the games they are officiating.