YOTA Swim Team

PROTECTION POLICIES AND PRCEDURES

The YMCA of the Triangle Area (YOTA) Swim Team experience is designed to create life changing experiences through a safe, fun and competitive environment, where we build honest, meaningful, and transparent relationships.

We have a zero tolerance policy for abuse. The YMCA of the Triangle and the YOTA Swim Team abide by the USA Swimming Safe Sport requirements as well as the Safe Sport Act which was passed in 2018. Both Safe Sport and the Safe Sport Act protect our athletes and create an environment where each athlete feels safe and protected. YOTA Policies and procedures and Safe Sport requirements ensure this environment stays in place and our athletes are protected.

In April 2019, the U.S. Center for Safe Sport created the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) to set a baseline for acceptable safety standards that limit one-on-one interactions between adults and minor athletes. All USA-Swimming participants, coaches, and clubs are required to implement MAAPP in their programs. 

YOTA Swim Team coaches are held to high selection and screening standards before ever working with athletes. Coaches must pass National, State and Local Background Checks, the DOJ Sex Offenders Registry, participate in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Trainings and additional education with the United States Olympic Committee SafeSport Center and YMCA of the USA.  Safety and Abuse Prevention are top priorities for YOTA staff.

However, creating a safe environment is a collaborative effort between staff, parents and athletes. We need your help to reinforce the YOTA culture and to ensure the safely, inclusion, and transparency outlined. Here’s what we need from you:

  1. KNOW: understand what’s appropriate, what to look for and how to protect our athletes.
  2. SEE: be engaged in your athletes’ activities, communications and interactions.
  3. RESPOND: stop inappropriate behaviors and report immediately to the YMCA Confidential Hotline (919-719-9690), your Site Coach or their supervisor.

Working together we will ensure a safe culture and promote positive behaviors.

The following practices apply to all YOTA Swim Team and USA Swimming members as well as all YOTA Swim Team events.

Should there be a violation of these policies, athletes will be sent home at the parent’s expense and risk missing their meet. No refunds will be issued in these instances.


YOTA TEAM ACTIVITIES

  • All interactions should be observable and interruptible.
     
  • Coaches will communicate to parents if bullying incidents occur.
     
  • Parents are prohibited from direct communication with another athlete unless they have consent from the other child’s parent/guardian.
     
  • Coaches encourage parents to communicate frequently and often for any concerns, questions or feedback.
     
  • Horseplay of any form is not allowed in the locker rooms.

  • Videos and pictures will not be taken at practices or meets without prior permission by the YOTA Swim Team.
     
  • Coaches will never massage (with hands or object) an athlete for any purpose.

  • Coaches will never touch an athlete in an area covered by the bathing suit.
     
  • When a coach touches an athlete as part of instruction, the coach should do so in open view of others and inform the athlete of what he/she is doing prior to the initial contact. Touching athletes should be minimized.

  • Encouraged physical interactions would include high fives, fist bumps, side-to-side hugs and handshakes.
     
  • Coaches will not invite or have an athlete(s) to their home.
     
  • Athletes should not sit on the lap of or otherwise inappropriately touch any YOTA team member or coach.
     
  • Coaches will not date or have a personal or sexual relationship with YOTA athletes.


CONDUCT FOR TEAM TRAVEL
 

  • Athletes & Coaches cannot travel one-on-one, regardless of age or other circumstance.  This includes travel trips, rides to and from practice, or any other travel.

  • All interactions between athlete and coach should be observable and interruptible.

  • When entering athletes’ rooms on travel trips, for purpose of curfew and safety checks- there will be at least 2 coaches/chaperones.

  • If athletes are sharing a room with other athletes they will be of the same gender and similar age.
     
  • There will be no male athletes in female athletes’ rooms and no female athletes in male athletes’ rooms.

  • Athletes are not permitted in coaches’ rooms.
     
  • Swimmers are to remain with the team at all times during the trip. Swimmers are not to leave the competition venue, the hotel, restaurant, or any other place at which the team has gathered without the permission/knowledge of the coach and/or chaperone.
     

ELECTRONIC AND SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATION

The YOTA Swim Team recognizes the prevalence of electronic communication and social media in today’s world and that many of our swimmers use these means as their primary method of communication. While YOTA acknowledges the value of these methods of communication, we also realize that there are associated risks that must be considered when adults (coaches) use these methods to communicate with minors (athletes). Additionally, athletes need to adhere to a set of standards when communicating with one another via electronic communication and social media.


CONDUCT FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION

All communication between a coach /other YOTA adult and an athlete must be professional and solely for the purpose of communicating about YOTA Swim Team activities. The content and intent of all electronic communications must adhere to the USA Swimming Code of Conduct regarding Athlete Protection.

All communication between an athlete and coach or athlete and their peers should be Transparent, Accessible and Professional.

Transparent: Your communication should not only be clear and direct, but also free of hidden meanings, innuendo, and expectations.

Accessible: All electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be considered a matter of record and part of the YOTA Swim Team records. Whenever possible, include another coach or parent in the communication so there is no question regarding accessibility or content. The YOTA Swim Team will utilize a group messaging service whenever possible.

Professional: All communication between a coach and an athlete should be conducted professionally as a representative of the YOTA Swim Team. This includes word choices, tone, grammar, and subject matter that model the standards and integrity of a staff member.

SOCIAL MEDIA (FACEBOOK, SNAPCHAT, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, ETC.)

  • Coaches are not permitted to have any athlete member of the YOTA Swim Team join their personal social media accounts as a “friend.”

  • A coach should not “friend” request or accept any “friend” request from an athlete. In addition, the coach should remind the athlete that this is not permitted. Athletes should report (to a trusted Coach, the Senior Director of Competitive Swimming or the YMCA Confidential Hotline) if they receive a “friend” request from a coach.

  • Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “private message” each other through any social media accounts.

  • The YOTA Swim Team has an official Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page that athletes and their parents can “friend” for information and updates on team‐related matters.

 OTHER COMMUNICATION PRACTICES

  • Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate; a parent or other YOTA coach should be included.

  • Coaches may communicate electronically with an individual athlete to convey practice/program information; communication should include a second adult (preferably another YOTA coach or parent).

  • Vulgar, bullying or sexualized communication will not be tolerated between YOTA Swim Team athletes, coaches or parents via text, email, or social media.

  • Athletes may not text, email, post, tweet, or otherwise communicate with derogatory content regarding the team, a coach, or a teammate. (This includes vulgar, bullying or sexualized language, photos, videos)

  • Athletes, parents and staff will discuss proper social media usage at the beginning of each season.
     
  • No one should be taking photos/videos while behind blocks or in the locker rooms at any time.
     
  • No one should post personal information of any kind about another member of the team without prior consent.
     

Violation of these policies could result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the YOTA Swim Team.

LOCKER ROOMS AND CHANGING AREAS

  • YOTA staff will randomly and regularly monitor the use of locker rooms and changing areas. This monitoring will be conducted through:

  • sweeps of the locker rooms before athletes arrive,
  • regular intermittent staff supervision during periods of use,
  • leaving doors open when adequate privacy is still possible,
  • making occasional sweeps of the locker rooms with women checking on female locker rooms and men checking on male locker rooms.