Youth running programs would not exist without the commitment and dedication of teachers, parents, school administrators, government and community leaders, program directors, volunteers, and others who strive to make a positive impact on the health and wellness of young runners.
Where do I find volunteers?
Start with participants’ parents or guardians, adults affiliated with your youth running program, and other community members who value running as part of a healthy lifestyle for children and youth. Reach out to local high schools and colleges to engage track, cross country, and endurance athletes to help administer your program. Utilize online resources such as volunteermatch.org to post opportunities and field interest inquiries.
Screen your staff and volunteers
The Road Runners Club of America encourages criminal background checks for anyone working with minors such as coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers, or employees engaged in working with youth (legal minors) involved in youth running programs or events. Youth running programs and RRCA member clubs and events are encouraged to adopt our recommended criminal background check policy.
The RRCA has partnered with the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) to provide an affordable background screening service for our members. All RRCA members will receive a 10% discount on background screening through NCSI. For more information call (440) 542-9690 or visit them online.
All RRCA members that host youth running programs or events should have policies and procedures in place for addressing abuse reporting. The RRCA has developed and posted the following guidelines to assist members in developing an abuse reporting policy and procedure:
>> KRTN Sample Criminal Background Check Policy (Word)
>> KRTN Sexual Abuse and Molestation Prevention and Reporting Policy (PDF)
Understanding the SafeSport Act
On February 14th, 2018, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was enacted by Congress and became federal law. It is more commonly referred to as the SafeSport Act.
In 2017, the U.S. Olympic Committee entrusted the U.S. Center for SafeSport (the Center) with the authority to respond to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements involving sexual misconduct. The SafeSport Act codifies that the Center has exclusive authority over National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) to investigate and take action for allegations of sexual abuse. What this means is that individual NGBs (USA Track & Field, USA Swimming, USA Hockey) no longer make their own investigations of abuse allegations. This will now be handled by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. This helps to potentially eliminate confusions as to where to report allegations of abuse, as a central organization is now responsible for reporting intake and investigation.
Read more about how the SafeSport Act impacts RRCA member clubs, events, and youth running programs and view online training options on the Understanding the SafeSport Act page.