We recently sat down with Alexia Tam, Alpine Canada’s Manager of Safe Sport to learn a little more about the importance, the resources and how to navigate the world of safe sport to ensure the safety of our ski community.
What is safe sport?
AOA, together with ACA, is committed to being a national and international leader in advancing inclusive, healthy, rights-based, safe sport for all individuals. Specifically, we strive to be an equitable and inclusive community, rich with diversity, protecting the human rights of all persons and based upon understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of every person. We believe every athlete from grassroots to the national team should feel safe in their sport journey along with their coaches, officials and family.
So what does safe sport include?
A safe sport environment is one in which all sport participants recognize, and report acts of maltreatment and prioritize the welfare, safety, and rights of every person at all times. Under the safe sport umbrella also includes responsible coaching, equality, diversity and inclusion, and concussion awareness. Everything from abuse, harassment, bullying and injury. A huge part of safe sport is education and awareness, in Alexia’s position she often works with organizations like AOA and smaller individual clubs, along with the National team to create and distribute all safe sport programming.
What is the best way to approach safe sport?
Getting out and being connected! It’s so important to stay engaged with not just the athletes but parents and coaches. Everyone plays a part in safe sport. The end goal is to create the best sporting environment where everyone can be their best versions of themselves both on and off the slopes and that includes being safe, inclusive and welcoming. Athletes, parents, coaches and officials should all feel comfortable approaching a member of their community that makes them feel safe when bringing up any questions or concerns. You can also report maltreatment yourself. More information on this can be found on ACA’s website here.
How is safe sport changing?
There has been a progressive shift over the years from reactive to preventative. Organizations, like AOA are seeing the value and benefit of investing in resources upfront to create a system of support ahead of time. Ideally, we are working towards a culture with zero negative experiences throughout one’s sporting career. There’s still a lot of work to be done going forward, but the commitment to make safe sport a top priority is driving the change we need. It’s about changing the narrative of safe sport from being something negative, to something positive that we should all feel safe and treat one another with kindness and respect, no matter our role. It’s all about teamwork, communication, education and understanding.
One of the most important aspects of safe sport is creating a welcoming, inclusive and kind community that enables athletes, coaches, officials and parents to work together and create an environment free of maltreatment that supports everyone in becoming the best they can be anywhere in life.
Alexia will be the facilitator of the Women in Ski Racing Initiative event – Investing in our Future: Keeping Girls & Women in Sport on March 14th at Georgian Peaks Ski Club. She welcomes you to join her and ask any questions you may have on safe sport at the event.
For a list of amazing resources and information you can visit the ACA Safe Sport Resource page here or the AOA Safe Sport resource page here. If you wish to take the free Coaching Association of Canada’s Safe Sport training you can do so here.