Community Improvement

Creating and ensuring top-notch youth sports programs in your community is an important part of maintaining a successful parks and recreation department. Done correctly, youth sports unite the community and positively affect children’s mental, emotional and physical development. Done incorrectly, they have the exact opposite effect.

One way to help ensure your youth sports program provides a positive experience is to develop and train an effective youth sports administrator – someone who has the knowledge, tools and support network necessary to help your department offer a well-rounded youth sports program.

Academy for Youth Sports Administrators

To help you, the National Alliance for Youth Sports has created the Academy for Youth Sports Administrators.

The Academy is a one-of-a-kind 20-hour certification program that builds the body of knowledge among the administrators and decision-makers in youth sports. Topics covered include Youth Sports Philosophy, Including all Kids, Mission Statements, Policies and Procedures, Volunteer Management, Child Abuse, Insurance and Risk Management, and more. The Academy – which is offered several times throughout the year in various states, and 24 hours a day online – is also a great opportunity to network with other youth sports professionals.

Once participants successfully complete the Academy, they become Certified Youth Sports Administrators (CYSA), and will need to earn CEUs throughout their career to maintain their CYSA credential. More than 1,200 individuals, representing approximately 700 agencies worldwide, have already earned their CYSA credentials and initiated positive changes in their community.

Five Reasons To Consider Adding a CYSA To Your Staff

Here are five reasons you should consider having a CYSA overseeing your youth sports program:

1) Operate Within An Established Philosophy – A sports program for children should operate within a clearly defined philosophy that focuses on providing a safe, positive and fun youth sports experience for everyone. A CYSA is trained in the benefits of maintaining a sound youth sports philosophy based on these principles. CYSAs are also prepared to establish the necessary local support to ensure the youth sports philosophy is well communicated to everyone involved, and the behavior and actions of participants, parents and coaches continually reflects the philosophy of the program.

2) Risk Management – Living in a lawsuit-happy society requires that supervisors of children’s sports must understand risk management issues, something that falls under a CYSA’s area of expertise. Studies have shown that many recreation agencies operate with less than adequate insurance coverage. Having the right insurance coverage and using the appropriate forms is vital for a program’s well being. A CYSA has a general working knowledge of the insurance policies necessary to cover the children and the volunteers participating in a youth sports program.

3) Training And Supervision – Properly training and supervising all volunteers involved in a youth sports program is essential for its overall success. CYSAs have a clear understanding of how to implement training programs for coaches, parents, officials and administrators, and hold them accountable for their behavior to ensure a safe, positive and fun experience for every child.

4) Conflict Management – Conflicts between parents, coaches and even young participants often arise during the course of a season. CYSAs are trained to resolve many of the problems that are typically found in programs through a variety of proactive and reactive techniques.

5) Increased Professionalism In The Field – Youth sports are in need of an increased state of professionalism. As with any respected professional field, we believe it is important that youth sports administrators participate in extensive and continuing education and training and earn professional certifications.

CYSA Case Study

Hall County Parks and Leisure Department

Hall County, Georgia

Fenton Morris, the athletic coordinator for Hall County Parks and Leisure Department in Georgia (and recent Academy graduate) didn’t know he had a lot to learn, until he learned it.

When Morris attended the Academy For Youth Sports Administrators in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in April, he got a “wakeup call.”

“My experience was unbelievable,” he said. “There was so much information provided that was needed and should have been implemented in my department long ago, to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our participants.”

Morris, who has been involved in the recreation field for seven years and officiates high school athletics in his spare time, decided to attend the Academy for several reasons. In addition to wanting to keep current with national trends and increase his knowledge about the ins and outs regarding youth sports – including rules and regulations, liability, safety issues and dealing with parents, among others – he also was looking for networking opportunities.

“I was also able to meet and make new friends, and discuss how each agency handles any type of situation that arises at a moment’s notice,” Morris said.

He added that he would recommend the Academy to anyone involved in youth sports programming.

“I started selling this Academy after my first day in class,” Morris said. “The information and teachings provided are a must-have for all agencies that offer youth sports programs. By implementing what is provided and taught, it will make your job easier and more stable by far.”

Upon returning to Georgia, Morris quickly began applying his newfound knowledge to the job -- although he is the first to admit that his work may never be totally done.

“I still have much to implement and shuffle around, but for the most part all is well,” Morris said. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but work that will have a grand, positive result in the end. I just want to make sure I am doing all I can to ensure the safety and enjoyment of those who participate in our youth sports programs.”

Greg Bach and Sarah Christy are communication directors for the National Alliance for Youth Sports. For more information on the benefits of having a Certified Youth Sports Administrator overseeing the sports programming for kids in your community, or for more information about the Academy, visit, e-mail or call 1-800-688-KIDS.