Executive Director’s Note In May of 2010 the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) issued a press release outlining plans to standardize guidelines for safe training environments for its athletes. This release came out around the time of some high-profile sex abuse cases with coaches associated with USA Swimming. I applaud the USOC for taking a hard stance and encouraging all governing bodies of sport to do the same when it comes to developing safe training environments. We’ve all read stories in our local papers about coaches of various sports who have been arrested for inappropriate behavior with Jean Knaack kids. In our sport, we continue to see organized youth running programs grow across the country. Youth cross country and track programs continue to gain in popularity. This is a great thing! However, many of these activities are taking place off school grounds, and some coaches most likely are not bound by a school’s criminal background check and abuse reporting system. While this shouldn’t raise alarm bells or incite national panic, it’s imperative that we as a running community do everything possible to create safe training environments for our kids, wherever they train and compete. As a mother, I’ve been proactive in talking to my children about appropriate behavior with adults and other kids. I’ve taught them to understand what’s good interaction and how to talk with me if they ever have an uncomfortable or downright inappropriate interaction with an adult or kid. I believe this is an important step in keeping them safe. First and most important is talking with your children about inappropriate interactions with coaches or program volunteers. To help parents, the RRCA has partnered with the organization Stop It Now! We’re pleased to share an article from them about how to talk with children about inappropriate interactions with coaches or other adults. Please take time to read the article on page 9. Then talk with your kids, other adults in your running community, and local youth running coaches about creating and maintaining safe training environments for kids. To share this information as widely as possible, the article will also appear in an upcoming issue of Youth Runner magazine, another Running Network LLC partner publication. If you’re a youth coach or parent volunteer, the RRCA encourages your group to adopt a criminal background check policy, as well as an abuse reporting policy and procedure. More information about this can be found on the RRCA website at RRCA.org/programs/kids-run-thenation. Please join the RRCA in our efforts to ensure that kids can develop a lifelong love of running by providing safe training environments for young runners in your community. Happy Running, Jean Knaack Correction: In our Summer 2010 issue on page 24, we inadvertently ran the incorrect name in the byline of the article “On Being a Runner.” The actual author is the 2009 Outstanding Club Writer of the Year Mark Lucas. We regret the error and send our apologies to Mark.
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Published on Feb 1, 2011