The National Council of Youth Sports is a sports organization that promotes and supports organized amateur youth sport programs through advocacy, education, resources, trainings, research, and conferences. As a united voice they support youth sport leaders and the inclusion of all youth in sports to develop “positive attributes including healthier lifestyles, self-esteem, fair play and good citizenship.”1 They believe these experiences will “make a child's life more fun and more complete”2 and create “stronger neighborhoods and communities.”3
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association formed the National Council of Youth Sports Directors (NCYSD) in 1979. Growth of the NCYSD, later known as the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS), was exponential: after 9 years in 1988 they had 14 member organizations, after another 10 years in 1998 they had 74 member organizations, and after 13 more years in 2011 they had nearly 200 member organizations. These 200 member organizations represent 60 million participants, which include 44 million boys and girls in local community-based sports programs.4 Also included are organizations such as Pop Warner Little Scholars, Little League Baseball, YMCA of the USA, Boy Scouts of America, and i9 Sports.5
As they grew, NCYS surveyed their members in both 1997 and 2000 to ascertain their needs. One of the pressing needs of the industry was how to implement safe policies, procedures, and practices for screening appropriate leaders of youth sport programs. In 2002 NCYS began a three year project to develop these standards through feedback surveys, industry studies, and summits with insurance industry leaders and separately with government leaders. By 2004 the need for a “consistent method to protect (the children) from the harmful behaviors of predators and criminals” had become the focus of a summit request of NCYS to create an action plan.
The following year in 2005, NCYS formed the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), a resource for comprehensive background screening of potential sport leaders. They also issued the NCYS Recommended Guidelines for Background Screening in Nonprofit and Youth-Serving Organizations, the action plan for implementing a safe youth sport program. In a related safety issue, NCYS encourages the policy that all photographers, including professionals and parents, be recognized by the Kid Safe Photographer program and be screened through the NCSI.
Beginning in 2006 in partnership with SportsEvents Magazine, NCYS initiated the annual S.P.O.R.T.S. Institute for industry discussion and networking involving sport industry leaders, amateur youth sport leaders, sport event planners, grass roots organizers, and destination marketers. As a further support, they have issued the popular resource “NCYS Report on Trends and Participation in Organized Youth Sports,” which was a result of their surveys including their last survey in 2008. This report provides a ten year comparison of data and trends in the industry, which assists local organizations and professional support organizations with strategic planning for the future.
Nationally, NCYS formulated a new Strategic Plan in 2010 in order to focus effectively on funding issues, increasing membership and membership services, internal communication and marketing goals, and external public relations communication. That same year they launched their new website to be a more effective resource site and also expanded their outreach with social networking.
In 2011 NCYS joined with NCSI and US Lacrosse to promote the LeagueAthletics services for individual member's online registration, communications, and member management needs. They have also partnered with PlaySportsTV to host the video “20 Tips for Coaches and Parents” on their website and the “Sports Parenting Tip of the Month” video for their members' own websites.
To provide a fundraising option for their membership, in 2011 NCYS began offering the Smart Giving Card program of Locker81 Fundraising Solutions owned by Heisman winner Tim Brown. Through VISA debit cards and payroll cards, organizations can raise money through supporters' “everyday spending” and the teams' regular expenditures.6 Another financial benefit for members launched that year was the Motel 6 partnership for event travel needs.
As part of their ongoing advocacy focus, NCYS announced the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports Legislative Agenda on July 27, 2011. This introduced the “F.A.N.S. For Youth Sports” legislative plan for focusing on Fitness, Access, Nutrition, and Sports issues. Each of these four areas were outlined with specific legislation that includes such issues as safe routes to schools, requiring time requirements for in school physical activity, funding the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), and the Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) nutrition support proposal.7
Recognizing the opportunity to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity, NCYS is working with many leading out-of-school-time organizations on an initiative called “Healthy Kids Out Of School.” This initiative has developed three guiding principles for out-of-school-time programs: Drink Right: choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages; Move More: Boost movement and physical activity in all programs; and Snack Smart: Fuel up on fruits and vegetables.8
Training of youth sports executives, leaders, and coaches has been through a joint program offered by George Washington University School of Business and NCYS. The six courses cover risk management, marketing, sponsorship and negotiations, event management, funding, and leadership in sports organizations. Upon completion of the course the leader becomes a Certified Sports Administrator (CSA).
NCYS has partnered with the National Athletic Trainers Association in marketing an online course, “Sport Safety for Youth Coaches.” This comprehensive course offers the most recent and expert information in such areas as risk management, legal issues, strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports-related illnesses and injuries, and safe playing conditions.9
Addressing the increasing concussion injuries which doubled from 1997 to 2007 for children aged 8-13 and increased 200% for youth aged 14-19, NCYS has partnered with Chartis Insurance for the “aHead of the Game” program.10 By educating the industry of this growing health threat they are seeking to reduce the risks and increase the recovery rate of hurt athletes.
Also with Chartis Insurance, NCYS awards the STRIVE award to those coaches, officials, and volunteers that demonstrate that it is possible for “Sports to Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence without compromising safety.”11 They believe in recognizing the programs that “play a vital role in the development of well-rounded youngsters by helping to teach children the importance of good sportsmanship, the rewards of hard work and practice, and the sweet taste of victory.”12
- 1. “Mission, Vision & Objectives.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/about/objectives.php > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 2. Johnson, Sally S. “Executive Director's Report.” Sep. 13-15, 2011. NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/about/director-reports/executive-director-report2011.php > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 3. “National Council of Youth Sports.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://ncys.org > 20 Sep. 2012
- 4. Op.cit., Johnson.
- 5. “Member Directory.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/about/membership.php > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 6. Op.cit., Johnson.
- 7. “Advocacy – Call to Action Issues.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/advocacy/call-to-action.php#fans > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 8. “Healthy Kids Out Of School.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/education/healthy-kids-out-of-school.php > 13 Nov. 2012.
- 9. “NCYS STRIVE Awards Program 2012.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/events/strive/strive.php > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 10. Op.cit., Johnson.
- 11. “NCYS STRIVE Awards Program 2012.” NCYS: National Council of Youth Sports. < http://www.ncys.org/events/strive/strive.php > 20 Sep. 2012.
- 12. Op.cit., Johnson.