Ontario Soccer and Respect in Sport recently reached a milestone for the province.
Over 10,000 parents in Ontario are now certified in the Respect in Sport - Parent Program - a feat that has been accomplished in under three years time.
“Ontario Soccer is proud to be associated with Sheldon Kennedy and the Respect in Sport Group. The Respect in Sport - Parent Program implemented at the grassroots level and being led by the Durham District Soccer Association (DRSA) is a valuable online education program targeted at youth sport parents to ensure we all provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our children," said Johnny Misley, Ontario Soccer Chief Executive Officer. "With now over 10,000 parents certified in the Respect in Sport - Parent Program in just three years demonstrates the importance and impact of such a valuable tool.”
The Respect in Sport Parent Program is a one-hour online module for parents and guardians, reinforcing their role in their child’s activities, encouraging positive sport behaviors, and providing insight into the various roles other individuals play, such as coaches and officials.
This program empowers parents to ensure the safety of their children, encourage positive and effective communication, and to enhance a child's overall enjoyment of soccer.
Mark Allen, the Ontario Director for Respect in Sport, knows that this isn’t just about education that it is about building a better sport culture.
“The whole idea of Respect in Sport, whether it be the activity leader program, which is use by coaches and officials, or the parent program, is to just help to create a culture within the game so that all the adults are on the same page,” Allen said. “It’s the adults that make it happen for the kids, so if all the adults can be on the same page surrounding this kind of thing, keeping kids engaged and safe, then everyone benefits.
“Not only are kids leaving sport, but so are volunteers and coaches because they are just throwing up their hands. The whole premise of Respect for Sport is taking the culture of the sport and keep it positive and engaging for everyone involved.”
Allen praised the work DRSA is doing and their leadership. The DRSA has over 8,000 of that 10,000 parent certifications in their district.
Ontario Soccer is encouraging all districts, clubs and academies to take up the cause in their region.