Leicester Blue Sox receive Clubmark accreditation
Wed 28 Mar 2012
Leicester Blue Sox Baseball Club has recently been endorsed by BaseballSoftballUK and Sport England with Clubmark accreditation for establishing and running a quality youth baseball programme.
Clubmark is a cross-sport accreditation for clubs with junior sections. Introduced by Sport England in 2002, it recognises and values the commitment made by sports clubs to develop high quality and welcoming environments for young people.
Youth Baseball Camp
The cornerstone of the Blue Sox junior baseball development has been its indoor “Youth Baseball Camp”, which recently concluded with impressive results.
Established as a six-week programme at Beauchamp College in Oadby, Leicester, it introduced the sport of baseball to young people aged 9-16. The camp's popularity grew very quickly, with over 20 children receiving a high standard of coaching from qualified Level 1 and Level 2 baseball coaches.
Many of the youngsters have already signed up as full members of the club and are looking forward to continuing their baseball activities at the club's Western Park diamond.
It is expected that Blue Sox teams in both the Bronco (9-13) and Pony (14-16) age groups will be playing competitive games in the not-so-distant future.
In addition, the club is busy establishing further community links with schools and colleges in Leicestershire, with the intention of delivering extra-curricular baseball sessions during the summer.
Club Chairman and Junior Team Manager Matt Crawshaw said, "We are delighted with how our youth baseball plans have taken off here in Leicester. Kids, parents and schools have all been very supportive of our efforts and we have unearthed a definite interest in the sport. The biggest obstacle we faced was reaching out to the community to spread the awareness of baseball; however, this has been overcome through local media exposure, networking with local schools and running a 'bring a friend for free' initiative. This has got kids of a similar age group together, playing the game and most importantly, having lots of fun!"
Head Coach and Junior Technical Director Giovanni Ciotti said, "By adding Clubmark accreditation to our club through our youth baseball development programmes, we can ensure a clear validity to what we're doing -- both technically around the game of baseball and socially around the development of children. While we are building a sustainable sports club and providing young people with a competitive sporting outlet, we are also providing young people a place to belong that can positively reinforce the physical and socio-emotional needs of our youth today."
BSUK National Club Development Officer Paul Wilkinson added: “Leicester Blue Sox have made enormous strides over the last few years as a club. In addition, their junior section is a major development that will stand them in good stead for the coming years. I would like to congratulate the club on this achievement and look forward to seeing the youngsters playing for the senior teams in the future. Well done, Leicester!”
Leicester Blue Sox Juniors will begin outdoor training on Thursday, March 29 and will continue weekly through the spring and summer.
The club is still looking for new players to add to their junior section and would like to hear from other youth baseball teams (both Bronco and Pony) that would be interested in organising fixtures.
Clubmark was introduced in 2002 by Sport England to:
Ensure that accrediting partners apply core common criteria to ensure that consistent good practice and minimum operating standards are delivered through all club development and accreditation schemes.
Empower parent(s)/carer(s) when choosing a club for their children.
Ensure that Clubmark-accredited clubs are recognised through a common approach to branding.
Provide a focus around which all organisations involved in sport can come together to support good practice in sports clubs working with children and young people.
Clubmark accreditation is awarded to clubs that comply with minimum operating standards in four areas:
- The playing programme.
- Duty of care and safeguarding and protecting children and young people.
- Knowing your club and its community.
Baseball and softball clubs working towards accreditation can receive support and advice from BSUK and other partners such as County Sports Partnerships (CSPs). There is only one set of paperwork to complete and in general most clubs are well on the way to achieving accreditation without realising it.