The water ski season is nearly upon us. Given the challenges everyone faced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I know you are eager to get back on the water. Our headquarters office and each of our sport discipline organizations have been diligently working behind the scenes to plan safe events for our members in 2021.
Additionally, USA Water Ski & Wake Sports (USA-WSWS) is committed to providing a safe and positive environment for all members on and off the water and promoting an environment free from abuse and misconduct.
On Feb. 14, 2018, the U.S. Senate signed into Federal Law, S534, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. The bill imposes general requirements on youth-serving amateur athletic organizations which include prevention training for adult members who have regular contact with minor athletes.
Given the family nature of our sport, there are very few events that exclude children. Therefore, it was approved by the USA-WSWS Board of Directors on March 17, 2021 to require all USA-WSWS active members 18 years old and older to complete annual Safe Sport online training beginning in 2022. There is no cost for the training. USA-WSWS now joins 15 other USOPC National Governing Bodies (NGBs) that also require Safe Sport training for all members as a requirement for membership.
The goal of the training requirement is for USA-WSWS members to recognize and eliminate areas where potential abuse and misconduct could occur. We all have a role to play to ensure our members, especially our young ones, are safe. We are all part of the solution.
Although the requirement does not start until 2022, we are encouraging all USA-WSWS active members 18-years-old and older to take the SafeSport™ Core training now. To take the course for the first time, Click on this Link and enter access code: TVQQ-GZNL-SEBT-INS8.
Since Safe Sport works with all NGBs, any member who has already completed training for another USOPC affiliated sport (soccer, swimming, gymnastics, hockey, etc.), will have satisfied the initial requirement with USA-WSWS (although refresher training will still be required each year as explained below).
We will soon be rolling out a new membership system that has an enhanced Members Only dashboard with a direct connection to the Safe Sport database allowing you to manage/view your Safe Sport status.
As of today, 1,477 USA-WSWS members have already completed the SafeSport™ Core training. This training consists of a 60-minute course focused on safeguarding athletes from bullying; harassment; hazing; physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. The SafeSport™ Core training is valid for one year and must be completed every four years. In the intervening three years, members must complete a 10-minute refresher course annually to remain compliant.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, if you have not completed the SafeSport™ Core training or required refresher course, your USA-WSWS membership status will appear as “inactive” in our system; and you will be unable to participate in sanctioned events or practices until the training is completed. New members and those renewing their membership will have 30 days upon registering to complete the training. Membership status during this period will appear as “pending” until the training is completed. If, after 30 days, training is not completed, membership status will become “inactive” and you will be unable to participate until training is completed.
By educating all members, we can provide a safe environment for all our participants. The U.S. Center for SafeSport was created to address the issue of abuse in sport. The Center is an independent organization that works with NGBs, including USA-WSWS, to enforce the Safe Sport Code and the Federal Safe Sport Act. The Center receives reports, conducts investigations, determines sanctions and informs NGBs of sanctions against any persons for violations of the Center’s Safe Sport Code. The Center employs specially trained personnel to conduct its investigations.
Since 2018, the Center has investigated a total of 7,209 cases among all NGBs, including 17 cases involving USA-WSWS members. There have been eight membership suspensions and two probations for violation of the Safe Sport code. Five cases currently remain open and are being investigated. View the USA-WSWS Suspended Member List.
For additional information, please check out the Frequent Asked Questions about Safe Sport located on our website.
By taking the SafeSport™ training, you are joining a movement across all sports to support a new culture of athlete safety. Look for continued communication about Safe Sport via our website, e-newsletters and social media channels throughout the rest of this year.
Thank you for your membership and support of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. If you have any questions regarding Safe Sport, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nate Boudreaux