The National Academy of Athletics is always searching for the best organizations to partner with and support. After reviewing the beliefs and mission of The National Council of Youth Sports (NYCS), it became evident that they closely align with those of the NAofA.
NCYS believes the era of unstructured sandlot play is largely gone. Organized sports in schools and recreational centers are also dwindling. For too many, participation depends on family income resulting in fewer young people being able to participate in sports. NCYS is committed to helping youth organizations serve young athletes.
NAofA CEO, Aaron Locks said, “As someone who grew up as a “Sandlot player” in a community that allowed and encourages us kids to play, create, fail, have fun and learn from our youth sports and free play experiences, I am very excited to explore the possibilities of working together with NCYS to continue to have an even larger impact on the youth in the communities we serve.”
With so many children being unwillingly signed up for highly competitive sports or travel teams, many are losing their desire to play sports. The NAofA Director of Physical Education, Michael Herbert explained, “A child’s athletic journey should be focused on skill development and positive social interactions, not chasing a college athletic scholarship. How we, as parents support our children, is setting the groundwork for all of their relationships later on in life. The better we support our kids to find their own path and enjoy “their” journey the better off they will be as adults. Parents, coaches, and teachers are simply guides for kids; it is the child’s responsibility to take ownership of where they go.”
While the NCYS has created an amazing support system for organizations in the world of youth sports, the NAofA has been able to take it one step further. “We have an incredible teaching program for our coaches and staff to become NAofA Certified before working with children. This prepares our coaching staff to handle any safety situations and ensures they understand our company values,” said Aaron Locks.
Each staff member is required to become certified on how to deliver their trademarked Talk.Teach.Play.® method. It has been shown to help kids have a positive youth sports or athletic experience, fall in love with being active, and truly create the foundation for life-long mental and physical health. The NAofA team then partners with organizations to be on-site and facilitate sports camps and clinics, after-school sports clubs, leagues, and physical education classes- all with the same mission of helping kids develop healthy habits, confidence, and the life skills to excel on and off the field of competition.
The feedback the NAofA has received regarding their youth sports, and athletic programs in schools, community rec centers, and youth sports leagues have been overwhelmingly positive. One of the secrets to this success is having local representation in each community they serve. The NAofA Area Captain works closely with all Community Partners to ensure the programs offered, fit the local community needs and budget. The NAofA ensures that children won’t be left behind by pricing a program outside the affordability of the community, and will work with other strategic partners to create scholarship programs for those in need.