Online Academy helping administrators reach higher levels of professionalism


The phrase “youth sports” often brings thoughts of parents on the sidelines cheering for youngsters, pint-sized athletes huddled around their volunteer coach and the much anticipated seasonal sign-ups.
However, without a youth sports professional coordinating administrative tasks and procedures in the background, none of this would be possible. Administrators are a key component in each community’s youth sports program and regarded as the leading authority on the subject.
To ensure that each youth sports program is guided by a positive philosophy, regardless of locale, it is essential that each community has at least one Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA). CYSAs are graduates of the Academy for Youth Sports Administrators, an innovative and comprehensive educational program solely focused on the matters of youth sports administration.
“I don’t want to be just an administrator in the community, but a leader for the parents, coaches and staff,” said Jeremy Smith, CYSA, athletics coordinator at Jefferson (Ga.) Parks and Recreation.
The Academy offers an online enrollment option that supports the professional development goals of youth sports administrators by giving them the freedom to earn their CYSA credential at their convenience.
Once administrators earn their CYSA credential they have access to a variety of materials and resources that enable them to perform their duties more efficiently. Additionally, even though the program is online, administrators are not isolated as they can communicate with other CYSAs through a special forum that is only available to CYSAs, as well as correspond with the Academy faculty. CYSAs have access to the CYSA Only Areas of the Online Academy any hour of the day, too.
I have learned a wealth of information from the Academy,” said Kate Warnke, CYSA, sports coordinator at Steamboat Springs (Colo.) Parks, Open Space and Recreation. “Over the course of the last few months I have already evaluated and made some improvements to our volunteer screening process and made adjustments to some of our registration forms and processes. From taking this course I am more educated, well informed and I definitely feel more confident and empowered as an active leader in our youth sports community. Having this training and experience will aid in the professionalism and success of our community’s youth sports programs.”
By completing the Academy, youth sports administrators gain a strong foundation of knowledge on issues pertaining to overseeing youth sports programs in today’s ever-changing environment.  Some of the topics covered through the Academy are youth sports philosophy, professional development, volunteer management, child abuse prevention, parent management, conflict resolution, insurance and risk management, program evaluation and marketing.
In order to maintain their CYSA credential, as well as have continued access to the Academy and its resources, administrators must earn CEUs every two years to ensure that they are continually raising their level of professionalism.
According to Wesley Davis, CYSA, recreation director at Glynn County (Ga.) Recreation and Parks, the online Academy content has proven useful to review frequently. “Having re-taken the certification for youth sports administrators has given me the tools and the desire to continue to raise the professionalism of youth sports in my community,” he said.
The CYSA credential gives youth sports administrators the information and confidence to represent themselves and their organization as professionals.
“Holding yourself accountable as a certified youth sports administrator will only help raise your own professionalism,” said Sabrina Best, CYSA, recreation specialist at South Portland (Maine) Parks and Recreation. “It’s one thing to be certified in something – it’s a whole other ballpark to be a professional in the area you are certified.”
To date more than 2,000 youth sports professionals have earned their CYSA credential. To learn more about joining this distinguished group email, or register here.

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