The MLF Youth Academy is serious about your child's safety and the longevity of the MLF Youth Academy, to ensure that both are kept safe from harm. The MLF Youth Academy has adopted the Safe-Sports training for all administrators, coaches, club directors, parent volunteers and anyone directly associated to a junior program, like in the MLF Youth Academy or the MLF Youth Academy Youth and Junior National team programs. This is an annual certification that must be full-filled in order for any registration into the MLF Youth Academy can be considered active.
The MLF Youth Academy believes that sports has many positive things to offer those who participate. First, and most importantly, whether one is a gifted athlete or a recreational player, your sport of choice is FUN! It is a lifetime sport enjoyed by players from 8 to 80. Participation is not only good exercise, but also involves team cooperation and spirit.
Athletes enjoy a wide range of physical, emotional and social benefits. Sports develop general physical fitness, and physical exertion has a documented positive mental effect. Athletes have a greater sense of self-worth, demonstrate better collaboration skills, and maintain healthier peer relationships.
Unfortunately, sports, can also be a high-risk environment for misconduct, including physical and sexual abuse. All forms of misconduct are intolerable and in direct conflict with the values of the MLF Youth Academy.
Misconduct may damage an athlete’s psychological well-being. Athletes who have been mistreated may experience social embarrassment, emotional turmoil, psychological scars, loss of self-esteem and negative impacts on their relationships with family, friends and the sport. Misconduct often hurts an athlete’s competitive performance and may cause enough harm for them to drop out of our sport entirely.
The MLF Youth Academy is committed to fostering a fun, healthy and safe sport environment for all its members. We must recognize that the safety of minors lies with all those involved in the sport and is not the sole responsibility of any one person at the club, regional or national level.
Mission Statement: The MLF Youth Academy is committed to be a leader in providing safe and fun environments for youth, adults, officials, spectators and event staff. The safety of its participants on and off the court is of paramount importance to the MLF Youth Academy. The MLF Youth Academy considers it a part of our responsibility to provide educational materials and resources for our Regions, clubs, coaches, parents and athletes. The MLF Youth Academy has ZERO TOLERANCE for abuse and misconduct.
The MLFYA’s SafeSport Program involves several components.
Policies and Guidelines: Provide specific, mandatory policies that must be followed at all levels of the organization; provide additional best practices that protect all members; solicit feedback on policies and guidelines in practice and review and propose updates.
Education and Awareness Training: Provide tools and resources for our community to increase understanding and awareness of abuse in sport and abuse prevention; create opportunities for education and training, review and update efforts based on industry findings.
Background Screening of Adult Staff: Continue to be an industry leader in background screening, the organization’s first line of defense against predators; provide tools to vet which individuals are allowed to become members, employees and have contact with minors.
Reporting and Responding to Abuse: Educate membership to recognize red flag behavior, or signs of abuse of athletes; make reporting channels clear and accessible; remove barriers to reporting; establish clear responsibilities for the National Office, the Regions and the clubs on how to respond to reports.
Monitoring and Supervision: Observe interactions and react appropriately at the local, regional and national levels; provide clear expectations of behavior for both youth-to-youth and youth-to-adult interactions.
Grassroots Engagement and Feedback: Create a connection to the local clubs and members; establish clear communication channels; solicit feedback and communicate how the feedback was incorporated into change efforts; work together; demonstrate why members of all levels need to be diligent and engaged in preventing abuse.