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Is your child in the right sports program?

Helping a child develop a life-long love of sport is a valuable gift. The right sports camp or program will define a child’s interest in sports during their growing years, and provide a positive experience that they will always carry with them.

How do you know if your child is in the right sports program?

With so many to choose from, it can be a challenge. Programs and camps have differing goals. Some are aimed at developing interest and skill and are places where your child will form valuable social bonds. Others are competition-focused and aim at training future medalist athletes.

Knowing what you and your child want from the sports program or camp is the first step in making the right decision. There is also safety to consider. A program’s clear understanding of risks and their mitigation as well as having trained and qualified staff are important to note.

Here are seven questions to consider when choosing the best program:

  1. Does the camp/program have a clear policy about health and safety?

The program should have policies in place to protect their participants. They should be available for you to read, ideally on their website.

  1. Are staff, coaches, officials, and volunteers qualified? Are they cleared to work with children and young people?

The club should have a safe recruitment process for hiring staff. Ask about their hiring process, what level of training their coaches have, and whether they have received safeguarding or similar training to work with children.

  1. Is the equipment and environment safe and clean? Is everything well maintained?

An organization that takes care of their equipment and maintains their environment is conscious of all the potential risks.

  1. Does the program or camp include a variety of activities?

Participating in a wide selection of sporting activities helps kids gain confidence that will set them up for life. If you and your child are unsure or don’t have a preferred sport, Sport Calgary (sportcalgary.ca) has an amazing opportunity for you with “All Sport One Day”. They offer 100 (or more) free sessions of 30 plus sports and activities for children and teenagers (ages six and older). 

  1. Are there formal codes of conduct?

There should be a written code of behavior (or conduct) showing what is required of staff, volunteers, and participants (including children). Avoid organizations that do not have a commitment to address bullying, shouting, racism, sexism or any other kind of oppressive behavior. Any unacceptable behavior should be challenged and dealt with in a professional manner by the sports organization.

  1. How can children or their parents/carers voice any concerns?

Every organization should have a named welfare officer and share their contact details. Well-run clubs should be prepared to listen and advise you what to do if you have any concerns. They should have information about local or national services that can also offer advice and support.

  1. Have you read Canada’s Long-Term Development plan (LTD)?

Children, youth, and adults need to perform activities at the right time and way to develop in sport and activity. Visit sportforlife.ca for more information.

Editor’s Note: 2022’s “All Sport One Day” weekend will be held on August 19 to 21, and registration opens August 10.  

Founded in 2001, Sport Calgary assists, supports, and influences the growth of sport in Calgary. A not-for-profit society, it’s the voice of amateur sport in Calgary. Connecting Calgarians and sport, it represents more than 350 member sport organizations. Sport Calgary works across all sports, helping individuals, teams and organizations learn, improve, and grow.

 

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