With the upcoming season rapidly approaching, it seems like the perfect time to direct the spotlight on the USA Fencing Member Club Travel Policy because … “Travel Happens.” Whether the event is local, regional or national, travel to events in many cases takes fencers away from their families and support systems and into an unfamiliar environment.
“A travel policy provides guidelines so that care is taken to minimize one-on-one interactions between minors and adults while traveling. Further, the policy directs how minor players will be supervised between and during travel to and from competitions. Adherence to travel policies helps to reduce the opportunities for misconduct.” (Section VII.B)
What important and relevant information can you garner from the Member Club Travel Policy, you ask? Let’s take a look:
Coach: “Can I drive my athlete to an event since his (or her) parents can’t be there?”
Policy: Do your best to avoid driving alone with a minor. If a parent can’t drive, work to find another athlete or adult who can also travel with you as this will minimize the potential risk. If the situation is unavoidable, which happens at times, talk with the parents and get their agreement in writing for their child to travel alone with you.
Parent: “My daughter is too young to stay alone in a hotel room. Can I have her share a room with her coach who we have known for years? Plus, it’ll save expenses.”
Policy: Regardless of the gender of the coach and athlete, a coach should NOT share a room with a minor athlete. There is risk and potential for allegations of misconduct inherent in the situation.
Parent: I’ve been told two team managers are traveling with the Club team. What more do I need to find out to ensure my child is safe?
Policy: Great question! Make sure the team managers have a completed background screen and are Safe Sport trained. Proper safety requirements, such as a valid driver’s license, automobile liability insurance and vehicle in working order should be in place as well. Check the number of club athletes traveling with the group as there should be at least one team manager or coach for every five to eight athletes. Be comfortable asking to check in regularly with your child.
Coach/ Team Manager: What procedures need to be put in place or what do we need to think about when planning for travel?
Policy: Be proactive by establishing expectations and protocols that will create a safe environment, whether it is just a few fencers or a larger group that is traveling.
It is important for parents, coaches, team managers and athletes to read and be familiar with the travel policy prior to travel. Everyone needs to understand their role in creating and ensuring a safe travel environment.
To view all Safe Sport spotlights, including the last on the Social Media and Electronic Communication policy, click here.