Two Georgia recreation agencies exemplify dedication to youth

Two Georgia recreation agencies exemplify dedication to youth


While the past year has been a challenging one for recreation agencies throughout Georgia, the outstanding staffs at Clayton County Parks and Recreation and Columbia County Parks and Recreation never wavered in their commitment to youth and their pursuit of providing the best experiences possible for them.

Each department recently had several leaders and staff participate in the Virtual Youth Sports Congress conducted by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). The signature event of NAYS, the Congress has been held for the past 18 years at a variety of venues around the country. The 2020 event, scheduled for Baltimore in conjunction with the Athletic Business Show and Expo, was canceled due to the pandemic and a three-day virtual event was held in its place.

The Virtual Congress format enabled attendees to still take part in sessions and learn all-important information, communicate with the speakers, and engage with their peers.

“My team is incredibly dedicated to making sure all kids in our programs have amazing experiences,” said Koboi Simpson, Deputy Administrator – Athletics for Clayton County Parks and Recreation and long-time CYSA. “So they welcomed the chance to take part in the Virtual Youth Sports Congress to further their knowledge on key topics that impact programs and the experiences of all those involved.”  

These Clayton County staff members maintained their Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA) credential, as they are part of a special group of more than 5,600 worldwide who have that designation:

Adeal Bell

Lloyd Gay

Nigel Grant

Sequellia Logan

John Mondy

Donald Shockley

Willie Turnipseed

Vince Wyche

At Columbia County Parks and Recreation, Taylor Simpson became a new CYSA, while these staff maintained their CYSA credential:

Ben Busby

Ben Hardy

Aaron Shaw

“It’s so important to stay up to speed on all the different issues that impact a child’s experience in a sports program,” said Aaron Shaw, Athletic Coordinator at Columbia County. “So the outstanding staff that I have the pleasure of working with was thrilled to take advantage of the Virtual Congress format and pick up valuable insights that can be applied to enhance our programs as we move forward.”

The three-day Congress line-up was packed with informative sessions on important youth sports issues that addressed gender equity, inclusion, bullying, physical literacy, facility allocation, recognizing staff and volunteers and specialization and injuries.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see all these hard-working recreation professionals who are so committed to youth and who want to stay up-to-date on all the latest information affecting youth sports programming,” said Lisa Licata, Senior Director of Professional Administrators for the National Alliance for Youth Sports. “We were so pleased that our Virtual Youth Sports Congress received rave reviews from all those who participated from the comfort of their homes and offices.”

While all the sessions were pre-recorded, the speakers were live on Zoom at the conclusion of their sessions to respond to questions from the attendees. A live chat box also ran alongside the presentations, enabling attendees to post comments and share insights with each other as subject matter was presented.         

The 2021 Youth Sports Congress is tentatively scheduled to take place in San Antonio, Texas on Oct. 27-30, if federal health regulations deem it safe to host an in-person event.

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