Virtual Youth Sports Congress: A look back at Day Two

Virtual Youth Sports Congress: A look back at Day Two


Day Two of our Virtual Youth Sports Congress featured a strong line-up of terrific speakers who dug into some key issues prevalent across today’s youth sports landscape.  

Lori Hoffner of Supporting CommUnity, Inc., began the day with an informative session detailing how having a recognition program in place helps reduce staff and volunteer turnover while building that all-important environment of support and enthusiasm. Plus, staff stability combined with dedicated volunteers is a great formula for running successful youth sports programs that families want to be a part of year after year.

“Companies that intentionally recognize staff typically see a Return on Equity that is three times higher than those that don’t,” Hoffner said.  

Dr. Jen Fraser, author of Teaching Bullies Zero Tolerance on the Court or in the Classroom, covered the issue of bullying that has become rampant across the youth sports landscape in her session Toughening Athletes Up for a Tough World or Harming Their Brains?

Too often we’re seeing coaching methods that disparage and demean in efforts to motivate, build character and toughen kids up to succeed in sports and life.

During her session Dr. Fraser broke down eight myths associated with bullying.

“We think if we’re super tough on kids then they’re going to have a strong shield and be so full of grit that nothing can touch them when they get out in the world,” she said. “But there’s no research that supports that.”

During Lane Gram’s session – Inclusion Isn’t Scary! Everyone has the Right to Play! – she shared ways recreation leaders can include kids with disabilities in their programs so they can compete alongside their non-disabled peers.

“Inclusion starts with you and trickles down,” said Gram, Recreation Supervisor for the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities in Arizona. “If you’re open and aware and excited and you have a positive attitude about it that will reflect down to your staff and your coaches. We need to create that welcoming environment.”

Day Two wrapped up with a look at the complex issue of determining who gets field space in our communities.  

Ed Saiz, Recreation Program Coordinator at the City of Henderson in Nevada and Kate Nematollahi, Director of Education Programs at NAYS, dug into how to track data and what types of rules and guidelines organizations can utilize to hold groups accountable, among many other areas.

“You have to structure your policy to support your vision,” Saiz said.


Looking ahead, Day Three features Krista Rizzo presenting on Relationships Are Everything; Kim Turner speaking on Gender Equity in Youth Sports; Part II of Dr. Jen Fraser’s presentation on preventing bullying; and we present our prestigious awards: the national Volunteer Coach of the Year and Youth Sports Parent of the Year, and our Excellence in Youth Sports Award winners. Plus, Kristina Harder, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, puts an exclamation point on the Virtual Youth Sports Congress by delivering the closing keynote. A passionate youth sports advocate, she has some terrific insights to share to wrap up three great days of learning.

Recognition Bullying Inclusion Facility Allocation Congress

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