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May 02, 2023: For the past year, the National Sport Organizations for volleyball, swimming and athletics have been working together to create safe sport education resources geared towards youth aged 13 to 20, a large participation base within all three sports. Several safe sport education resources exist for adults, but all three organizations identified the need to tailor the messaging, content, and presentation to better reach youth participants.

Awareness and education play an important role in reducing maltreatment and abuse, and having a tool that is geared specifically to youth will help increase sport safety. The vision is to eventually include education and resources for other aspects of improved youth health and awareness, including mental health, body image, disordered eating, concussion, and bullying to name a few.

With the help of Canadian Olympic Committee’s Return to Sport Funding grants, the group was able to bring on the services of VantagePoint Sports Consulting, who has assisted with external and internal stakeholder research, member surveys, and target market focus groups involving provincial and territorial associations (PTAs), clubs, parents, and athletes in all three sports. The feedback overwhelmingly supports the creation of safe sport education tools for youth, which will be offered at no charge to participants.

The process over the past year has also included requirements development, vendor assessment and contract negotiations. This work resulted in an agreement with ITP Sport who will manage the content creation and site development with partners, Reux Agency, and Verdure Digital. Under the direction of ITP Sport, this team will create a library of short, interactive, and bilingual safe sport videos, featuring athletes, and pop-up graphics that incorporate the research obtained over the past year.

The Youth Safe Sport education platform will be ready for launch this September and will include tracking capabilities and a certificate upon completion. Access to the education platform will be offered to other Sport Organizations for a small annual fee to cover yearly site hosting and site maintenance costs.

Athletics Canada is thrilled to partner with Volleyball Canada and Swimming Canada to develop the Youth Safe Sport Education Program,” said Athletics Canada Chief Executive Officer, Mathieu Gentès. “Since the establishment of the Office of the Athletics Commissioner in 2015, serving our members to adjudicate and govern the organization’s Safe Sport efforts in a fully independent capacity, Athletics Canada has continuously sought ways to foster a safe and welcoming sporting environment. The addition of this program enables us to increase our focus on proactive Safe Sport prevention at the grassroots level of the sport. We believe the greatest action we can put into play, which will have an impact for generations to come, is to foster a positive culture change. The Youth Safe Sport Education Program will serve as a critical lever in fostering this culture change.”

Added Mark Eckert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volleyball Canada: “Volleyball has a very large and active youth membership, which includes an annual Nationals age-group championship of more than 10,000 athletes. It’s crucial that these players have a positive, safe and welcoming experience participating in our sport at all levels. Early education and awareness of safe sport issues is an important first step in creating a solid foundation for an athlete’s youth career with the goal of carrying this positive experience through to future participation in the sport system as an adult.”

“Education and awareness of safe sport for Swimming Canada’s very large population of age-group swimmers across the country is a key priority,” stated Ahmed El Awadi, Swimming Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “The Safe Sport Education tools being developed for youths, through this project, is an important step in developing awareness and educating youth on safe sport issues. A safe and inclusive sporting environment at all levels, for all participants, across all sports, is imperative.”
For more information, please contact:
Caroline Sharp, Volleyball Canada Safe Sport Director
(613) 323-5605,