Travel will be a standard aspect of our competitive season and SVC has established policies to guide our travel, minimize one-on-one interactions and reduce the risk of misconduct. Adherence to these travel guidelines will increase athlete safety and improve the competitive experience while keeping travel a fun and enjoyable experience.
LOCAL AND TEAM TRAVEL
We distinguish between travel to training, practice and local competition (“local travel”), and team travel involving a coordinated overnight stay (“team travel”).
Local travel occurs when SVC does not sponsor, coordinate, or arrange for travel. For local travel, athletes or their parents/guardians (for minor athletes) are responsible for making all travel arrangements. In these instances, it is the responsibility of the athlete or their parents/guardians (for minor athletes) to ensure the person transporting the athlete maintains all safety and legal requirements, including, but not limited to, a valid driver’s license, proper insurance, well maintained vehicle, and compliance with all state laws. In an effort to minimize one-on-one interactions, SVC staff members, coaches and/or volunteers, who are not also acting as a parent, should not drive alone with an unrelated athlete and should only drive with at least two other athletes or another adult at all times, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the athlete’s parent or guardian in advance of travel. In any case where a staff member and/or volunteer is involved in the athlete’s local travel, a parental release is required in advance. Efforts must be made to ensure that staff and/or volunteers are not alone with an athlete or participant, by, e.g., picking the athletes up in groups. Coaches, staff members and volunteers who are also an athlete’s guardian may provide shared transportation for any athlete(s). We encourage guardians to pick up their athlete first and drop off their athlete last in any shared or carpool travel arrangement. We also recommend completing a shared travel declaration form signed by the parents/guardians of any minor athlete who is being transported as part of such a carpool arrangement.
Team travel is overnight travel that occurs when SVC sponsors, coordinates or arranges for travel so that our teams can compete locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. Because of the greater distances coaches, staff, volunteers and chaperones will often travel with the athletes. However, no coach, staff member, or volunteer will engage in team travel without the proper safety requirements in place, including valid drivers’ licenses, proper insurance, well-maintained vehicles and compliance with all state SVC makes efforts to provide adequate supervision through coaches and other adult chaperones.
For team travel, hotels and air travel MAY be booked in advance by SVC. Athletes will share rooms, with 2-4 athletes assigned per room depending on accommodations. SVC may also notify hotel management should any special arrangements be warranted. For instance, we will ask hotels to block pay per view channels and we will request an additional large room or suite so that our members and athletes may socialize as a group. Meetings do not occur in hotel rooms, and we will reserve a separate space for adults and athletes to socialize.
We encourage family members who wish to stay in the team hotel to do so. If family members do not stay in the team hotel, we encourage all athletes to call parents and guardians regularly and allow for any unscheduled calls by either the athlete or parent/guardian.
INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL [for SPORT INVOLVING INDIVIDUAL COMPETITION AND TRAVEL]
The nature of our sport and competition structure means that individual athletes may sometimes need to travel overnight without other athletes. Under these circumstances, we encourage minimizing one-on-one time between a coach and athlete by:
- traveling with an additional coach or chaperone
- inviting parents/guardians to travel with their athlete (for athletes under age 18)
For individual travel, we attempt to provide alternative guidelines. Depending on the nature of the travel and competition, these guidelines may include:
- compressing the travel schedule to reduce the number of nights athletes are away from home
- providing regular organizational check-in phone calls to the traveling athlete and coach
- encouraging more frequent and unscheduled check-in phone calls initiated by parents/guardians (for minor athletes)
- complying with reasonable parental requests when a child is away from home without a guardian.
When only one athlete and one coach travel to a competition, the athlete must have his or her parents’ or legal guardian’s written permission in advance to travel alone with the coach.
When possible, SVC will provide reasonable advance notice before team travel. Notice will include the dates, location and duration of competition. Travel notice will also include designated team hotels for overnight stays as well as a contact person within ORGANIZATION. This individual will be the point of contact Appropriate adult-to-athlete ratios will depend on the age of your athletes and other participants. Evaluate your program to determine your supervisory needs. To confirm your intention to travel and to help with travel details. SVC will post specific travel itineraries when they become available. These will include a more detailed, hour-by-hour itinerary as well as contact information for team travel chaperones.
MIXED-GENDER AND MIXED-AGE TRAVEL
SVC is made up of male and female athletes across various ages. Athletes will only share a room with other athletes of the same sex and age group. Athletes will also be grouped by age and sex for the purposes of assigning an appropriate chaperone. We will make every effort to provide these groups at least one chaperone of the same sex. However, we rely on parents to serve as chaperones and may be limited in providing this match.
Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with an athlete (unless the coach is the parent, guardian, sibling or spouse of that particular athlete). Where an adult is registered both as a coach and an athlete member of SVC, and is functioning primarily as a coach, he or she may share sleeping arrangements with another registered coach.
COACH AND STAFF RESPONSIBILITIES
During team travel, coaches and staff members will help athletes, fellow coaches and staff members adhere to policy guidelines, including, without limitation, the Travel Policy, Locker Rooms and Changing Areas Policy and Reporting Policy. If a coach or staff member transports an athlete or other organization member in their private car for team travel, a copy of the coach’s or staff member’s valid driver’s license is required. When not practicing, training, competing, or preparing for competition, coaches and staff will monitor the activities of athletes, fellow coaches and staff during team travel. Coaches and staff will:
- not use drugs or alcohol in the presence of minors or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing their coaching duties
- ensure athletes are complying with hotel room restrictions based on gender or age bracket requirements
- encourage minor athletes to participate in regular, at least daily, scheduled communications with their parents/guardians.
- prepare athletes for team travel and make athletes aware of all expectations. Supplemental information will be given to parents/guardians of athletes who are considered inexperienced travelers, new or relatively new to team travel, or who are under the age of 14.
- familiarizes themselves with all travel itineraries and schedules before the initiation of team travel.
- conform to, and monitor for others’ adherence, the Athlete Protection Policy and all policies during team travel.
- help athletes be on time for all team commitments (as possible)
- assist with team travel logistical needs (as possible) g. support chaperones and/or participate in the monitoring of athletes for adherence to curfew restrictions set based on age and competition schedule as listed in travel itinerary
- make certain that athletes are not alone in a hotel room with any adult apart from a family member; this includes coaches, staff and chaperones
- immediately reports any concerns about physical or sexual abuse, misconduct, or policy violations
- notify parents before taking any disciplinary action against a minor athlete if the athlete is traveling without his or her parents.
Chaperones accompany team travel to ensure that the athletes, coaches, staff, and volunteers adhere to the SVC’s policy guidelines. While these include the travel policy, it also includes all other relevant policies contained in SVC’s Participant Safety Handbook. If a chaperone has not undergone a criminal background check and SVC’s awareness training, the chaperone will not be permitted to have any one-on-one interactions with athletes or other youth participants. If a chaperone has undergone a criminal background check and awareness training, he or she may have appropriate one-on-one interactions as outlined in SVC’s Participant Safety Handbook. If a chaperone will be operating a private car for team travel, a copy of the chaperone’s valid driver’s license is required.
Chaperones will monitor the activities of all coaches, staff members, volunteers and athletes during team travel. Specifically, chaperones will:
- familiarizes themselves with all travel itineraries and schedules before team travel
- monitor for adherences to club policies during team travel
- encourages minor athletes to participate in regular, at least daily, scheduled communications with their parents/guardians
- help athletes be on time for all team commitments (as possible)
- assist coaches, staff and other volunteers with team travel logistical needs (as possible)
- monitor athletes for adherence to curfew restrictions set based on age and competition schedule as listed in travel itinerary
- ensures athletes comply with hotel room restrictions based on gender or age bracket requirements.
- not use drugs or alcohol in the presence of minors or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing their chaperone duties
- makes certain that athletes are not alone in a hotel room with any adult apart from a family member; this includes coaches, staff and chaperones
- immediately reports any concerns about sexual and physical abuse, misconduct or policy violations to a SVC administrator or a member of SVC’s Participant Safety Committee.
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
As part of SVC’s emphasis on athlete safety, all electronic communications between a coach and athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities.
As with any communication, the content of any electronic communication should be readily available to share with the athlete’s family. At the request of a parent or guardian, any email, electronic text, social media or similar communication will copy or include the athlete’s parents or guardians.
FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, BLOGS AND SIMILAR SITES
Coaches may not have athletes of SVC’s Team join a personal social media page. Athlete members and parents can friend the official SVC’s Team page and coaches can communicate to athlete members though the site. All posts, messages, text, or media of any kind between coach and athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities or for team-oriented motivational purposes.
TWITTER, INSTANT MESSAGING AND SIMILAR MEDIA
Coaches and athletes may “follow” each other. Coaches cannot “re-tweet” athlete message posts. All posts between coach and athlete must be for the purpose of communicating information about team activities.
EMAIL AND SIMILAR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate. All email content between coach and athlete must be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. Where the coach is a staff member and/or volunteer, email from a coach to any athlete should come from the SVC website email center ( “SIERRAVOLLEYBALLCLUB@AOL.com”).
TEXTING AND SIMILAR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
Texting is allowed between coaches and athletes. All texts between coach and athlete must be professional and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities.
From time to time, digital photos, videos of practice or competition, and other publicly obtainable images of the athlete – individually or in groups – may be taken. These photos and/or videos may be submitted to local, state or national publications, used in club videos, posted on club or club associated websites, or offered to the club families seasonally on disc or other electronic form. It is the default policy of SVC to allow such practices as long as the athlete or athletes are in public view and such imagery is both appropriate and in the best interest of the athlete and the club. Imagery must not be contrary to any rules as outlined in SVC’s Participant Safety Handbook.
REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS OR IMAGERY
The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that their child not be contacted by any form of electronic communication by coaches (photography or videography).
Social media and electronic communications can also be used to commit misconduct (e.g., emotional, sexual, bullying, harassment, and hazing). Such communications by coaches, staff, volunteers, administrators, officials, parents or athletes will not be tolerated and are considered violations of our Participant Safety Handbook.
Violations of SVC’s Electronic Communications and Social Media Policy should be reported to your immediate supervisor, a SVC administrator or a member of SVC’s Participant Safety Committee for evaluation. Complaints and allegations will be addressed under SVC’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedure.