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Childrens Bill of Rights

Soccer Parenting Endorses the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports

Soccer Parenting is proud to endorse the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports.  Check out our interview below discussing this initiative with Tom Farrey, Executive Director of of Aspen Institute's Project Play.  The Children's Bill of Rights in Sports is intended to be a document that identifies the minimum standards for youth sporting environments. The drafting committee included the Centre for Sport & Human Rights, Athletes for Hope, Center for Sport and the Law at the University of of Baltimore School of Law, the Power of Sport Lab, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. 

Every child has the right to play sports and, when in the care of adults, the human rights they are born with need to be respected.

If you work for a youth soccer club, league or organization - we encourage you to audit your organization using this template provided by Aspen Institute, promote your support of the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports thereby setting your organization apart as one that cares about the human rights of all children.

Parents, familiarize yourself with the 8 Rights of Children in Sports, and encourage your child's club to endorse the initiative. Plus, be sure you give your child a voice in their sporting experience by involving them in decisions you make about where they are going to play.


To launch this Children's Bill of Rights in Sports endorsement, I interviewed Tom Farrey, the Executive Director of Project Play. Tom has been a great friend of Soccer Parenting over the years.  He was one of my first interviews for our first Soccer Parenting Summit almost 10 years ago, and his leadership in youth sports over the years has been invaluable. Tom's book, Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children was one of the first books to call out the inadequacies of our sporting structures and the stressful culture that too often exists surrounding youth sports.  


What purpose does the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports play in youth sports in America?

Transcript:

Skye:
So your movement around the Children's Bill of Rights is really centered around the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. Really kind of curious about how some countries have adopted that. I don't think our government has effectively adopted that yet. But, I do think that this plays an incredibly important purpose. So, with that in mind, what purpose does the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports play in youth sports in America?

Tom:
I mean, what it does is it creates a cultural understanding as to what the minimum conditions are in engaging children in sport activities. So it's really a statement that A: every child deserves an opportunity to play. But once you're in the care of adults, what do they owe you? Just what are the human rights that you are born with that need to be honored in a sport context? Everything from safe and healthy environments to qualified program leaders to developmentally appropriate play and so on. 

These are words that don't just come out nowhere. They are tied to human rights doctrine at the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, which is the most ratified treaty in the history of the world. So we just don't have that, we don't have that shared understanding about the minimum conditions in our society. And, I want be clear Skye, this is not like the gold standard. This is not like you need to play for a coach who has this high level license and can do this. No. This is just like you are a human being. You deserve to be treated with respect in these types of ways. This is the type of activity, that you're simply born to receive.

Skye:

I really love this concept and I love the collaboration that's existing around all the people and groups that are sort of aligning around this as well. And that being said, everything you just said, we're still missing the mark quite often on these most minimum basic rights. So we still, as a country and as organizations, certainly have a long way to go.


Do you have any advice for our Soccer Parenting community on how they can support and amplify the Children's Bill of Rights in Sport?

Transcript:

Skye:

Do you have any advice for our soccer parenting community, our parents and the coaches that are working with us on how they can support and amplify the eight rights of the child in sport?

Tom:

Step one is just to familiarize yourself with these rights in general. So go to our website, all these resources are free. You know, come to understand what, you know, what each of these eight rights are. What does it mean that your child has the right to play sports? What does it mean to have a safe and healthy environment? What does it mean to be a qualified program leader? Developmentally appropriate play. To share in the planning and delivery of their activities. To an equal opportunity for personal growth, you know. To be treated with dignity. And finally, just to enjoy themselves. So we've got language on the website.

There' something, under the program resources tab, there's an editable template, which, you know, explains this stuff and has bullet points on, you know, what do we really mean by that? And then there's a place where a program can basically audit itself.

I would encourage parents to find this resource and share that with their local club and say, "Hey, this could be really useful. You might want to just do a little self-review. You could keep it to yourself, or you could share it with us as parents. You could put it on your own website, I mean, show us how you as a program honor these rights." 

That could be a separator for, you know, if I was making a decision about where to place my kid, I would look and I saw something on there about how a club was saying, "Here's how we honor the eight rights of a child." To me that might be, you know, that would be, you know, persuasive. So share the resource and encourage some level of transparency and disclosure.

At Soccer Parenting we are proud to endorse the Children's Bill of Rights in Sports and amplify the 8 Rights of Children in Sports.  A big shout out to Aspen Institute for their leadership in developing this initiative.  We'd love to hear how parents and youth soccer clubs are implementing the Children's Bill of Rights in their interactions.

Please comment below!

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Skye Eddy


Founder, SoccerParenting.com
Skye is a former All-American goalkeeper, professional player and collegiate coach. She holds her USSF "B" License and USSF National Goalkeeper License and is an active youth coach, soccer parent and coach educator.

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