I work to be intentional with these blogs and focus them on current events or topics. In the spirit of Thanksgiving this month, it seems fitting to focus on giving thanks. Interesting fact: did you know that the first nationwide Thanksgiving was 1789 as declared by George Washington? For more than 200 years, we take time in November to reflect and give thanks; Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the blessing of the past year. While there is a lot yet to accomplish, USA Fencing SafeSport has much to be thankful for – so, let’s give T-H-A-N-K-S.
T: Time – Thank you for the time you put toward working to create a positive, safe, healthy environment for our fencers. It takes time to complete the online SafeSport training and background screening that is required for our members who interact with our minor athletes; it takes time to understand and establish protocols to ensure your club is abiding by the proactive SafeSport policies; it takes time to intentionally factor SafeSport guidelines into training and competition. So, we thank you for the time you have committed to keeping our sport safe.
H: Hope – I’ve heard it said that “hope is not a solution” and, in part, I agree. Hope is about optimism and potential so it is beneficial – but it is not the complete answer. Hard work is then critical to realizing that potential. Thank you for the hope you have that we will accomplish our mission of creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development, and to ensuring that it promotes an environment free of misconduct. We need to first believe in the vision then work towards making it a reality, which we are doing.
A: Awareness – Thank you for your awareness of SafeSport and its reach: awareness of the importance of the SafeSport mission and movement; awareness of SafeSport policies and how they impact clubs, coaches, volunteers, parents, athletes, etc.; awareness when boundaries are crossed and then an awareness of appropriate and required next steps.
N: Nerves – At times, it takes nerves to bring concerns to our attention. It is not easy to pick up the phone or go online and express ethical or SafeSport concerns or concerns when boundaries are being crossed. But, when it comes to the safety and well-being of our fencers, such nerves are paramount. It is not uncommon for an individual to lead off the conversation with “I don’t know if this is considered a violation but …“ Not easy, right? We appreciate that such a conversation is difficult. So, thank you for placing our young fencers above the discomfort that is often brought about by addressing potential “red flags.”
K: Kids – Thank you for being a part of USA Fencing. Do you know you make up roughly 65 percent of our organization? We truly wouldn’t be the same without you. And, our SafeSport efforts to provide a safe, positive, healthy environment are for you as you deserve it. It is the responsibility of some of the adults within USA Fencing – coaches, referees, volunteers, club personnel – to create such an environment. So, adults, let’s commit to doing our best for our fencers.
S: Support – We value and appreciate your support of SafeSport. Enough said; “it takes a team.”