COVID-19 Youth Sports Resource Center

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These are difficult times for all sports-based youth development nonprofits (SBYD) with schools, fields and recreational facilities closed. This means teachers, mentors and coaches are unable to engage in-person with the children they are teaching and supporting.  However, programs are starting to adapt by delivering programs and staying in touch virtually - see the variety of approaches being adopted in our Virtual Youth Engagement section below.

In addition to being hindered in their delivery of their programs, COVID-19 is inhibiting these nonprofits in their fund raising, especially if events have to be cancelled.  Compounding the problem is the uncertainty on how long prohibition of in-person gatherings will need to continue to combat the virus.

However, as of mid May discussions have begun on the return to play and Aspen Institute's Project Play Program provides thoughtful advice and resources on this important topic in the Operations/Fund Raising section below.

At the same time there are programs by the federal, state and local governments to provide nonprofits with access to funding to tide them over. Further, lobbying effort by several thousand youth sports organizations requesting $8.5 billion from Congress to replace income lost by the pandemic with recommendation that priority consideration for these funds be given to programs focusing on under-served communities.

Further, many states have put into place continued access to meals that students in need had been getting while in school. More detail can be found in Government Resources below.

Virtual Youth Engagement

Soccer Without Borders (Posted 5/4/20) In response to COVID-19 and the state of isolation it has put many youth into, Soccer Without Borders has launched its first nationwide Stay Home Spring Season, in which 119 youth soccer teams across the United States compete against each other through virtual training sessions led by the teams’ coaches and by completing weekly league-wide Social Impact Challenges provided by SWB.

Furthermore, SWB has launched the Smile Together YouTube Series to provide free inclusive training sessions and skill challenges from SWB coaches. This video content is all about our culture of belonging, especially in this isolated time. Click here to learn more about Soccer Without Borders’ response to COVID-19.

A reminder that SWB released in March its Beats that Move the Cleats, a Spotify playlist with song recommendations from its participants and coaches around the world. Song samples are at the link or go to Spotify to hear songs in their entirety.

Doc Wayne (Posted 5/1/20) uses the power of sports to address the need for mental health services among youth. They have launched a new webinar series, Kids and COVID-19 to share tips, tricks and resources to better support youth through this pandemic. Watch their first Webinar hosted in partnership with U. S. Soccer Foundation on Mental Health for Youth Sports Organizations.

Doc Wayne is also available as a resource for mental health programming or interventions. Contact them at [email protected]

U. S. Center for Safe Sport (Posted 5/1/20) has created important safety guidelines for coaches connecting virtually with their program's youth along with other helpful resources for keeping kids safe online.

LA84 Foundation's (Posted 5/1/20) Play Equity Fund features instructional videos from LA Dodgers Kike Hernandez, LA Chargers Austin Ekeler, and U.S. Hockey Olympian Molly Schaus. This is part of #StayActvieStayStrong program to encourage kids to stay active while at home. In addition, the Fund is distributing balls, jump rope and other equipment at LA Unified School District meal centers. This program is part of their May 5th Giving Tuesday fund raising effort.

America SCORES (Updated 5/1/20) The Soccer Coaches Summit from April 13 - 25 is over, but you can still get access to the 116 different speakers on 38 different categories by purchasing for $129 the life time Donor Pass. Starting May 5th there will be new free sessions, with several for the Hispanic community. Full Schedule, Registration & Pass Purchase.

PeacePlayers (Posted 4/21/20) is an international nonprofit whose mission is to unite divided communities through the sport of basketball. Phone calls were initially made to players to check-in and find out what capabilities they have to connect virtually. Based on youth access, virtual programming was set up using the social media platforms players use to keep communication and programs going (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc)

PeacePlayers recently began implementing a curriculum across international sites that will build up towards their Friendship Games that was to take place in Israel, but instead will happen on the virtual platforms. More Info

Give N' Grow Basketball (Posted 4/21/21) is offering free 25 minute video call that combines mental health training with fundamental basketball drills promoting physical fitness. Youth age K-5th, but 6-8th graders will benefit. Every Tuesday and Friday at 12 noon eastern. More Info

U. S. Soccer Foundation (Posted 4/14/20) Each week, the Foundation releases new flyers with different activities and resources around: physical activity, health & wellness, mentoring, community engagement, and safe spaces. The flyers are available in English and Spanish. We also release videos of short soccer sessions. All of the materials can be found at www.soccerforsuccess.org/athome. Page is updatedfrequently so all the materials will always live there.

Chicago Run (Posted 4/14/20) serves the full continuum school age (PreK-High School) with youth running and physical fitness programs. They have started a free, 6-week virtual program that is open to the whole family to exercise together on a daily basis without any equipment and includes weekly virtual meetups. They are also posting follow along exercise videos every weekday at 1pm central on Facebook and posting fitness tips and challenges for all ages on their website.

Harlem Lacrosse (Posted 4/13/20) The inequities Harlem Lacrosse (HL) participants are facing are intensified in the current environment. Accordingly,  Harlem Lacrosse is able to mobilize their Program Directors and staff to innovate and advocate on behalf of the students they serve by pivoting its program model as follows:

  • Aiding HL participants to transition from in-person to online academics;
  • Running remote programming including 1 on 1 virtual meetings, small group session, full team activities, tutoring, mentoring, workouts, guest speakers and virtual field trips;
  • Dropping off a stick and ball for at-home practice;
  • 1 on 1 video session for homework help;
  • Active support of school-based online learning by ensuring students are logged in when and where they are supposed to be;
  • Harlem Lacrosse staff catalyzes information and resources to ensure our students can access remote online learning.

HL has a Virtual Programming Calendar for every weekday:

  • Motivation Monday - Teams will meet in small group video calls to watch a short video, discuss a quote, or read an article and process as a group;
  • Tutor Tuesday - HL Program Directors and volunteers will meet with individual students or small groups via video calls to provide academic support in remote learning;
  • Workout Wednesday - HL Program Directors and guest instructors will lead students thru home fitness routines. Students also share videos on Instagram of themselves completing fitness challenges;
  • Team Thursday - HL Program Directors design activities to foster relationship building, team bonding, and self reflection; and
  • Featured Speaker Friday - HL welcomes guest speakers to address HL students via video call.

Click Here to see the ways HL virtual programming is making an impact

60 Minute Online Course for Teen-age Athletes (Posted 4/8/20) is available for free until April 30 from the Positive Coaching Alliance. Course teaches student-athletes how to Improve Oneself, Improve Teammates and Improving the Sport.

Up2Us (Posted 4/1/20) has created the Up2UsSportsAtHome to provide free resources, videos and virtual training opportunities to help coaches keep their teams physically, socially and emotionally healthy. Up2Us will include daily posts on their network of social media channels using the hashtag #Up2UsSportsAtHome.

America SCORES (Updated 4/14/20) has pivoted to 100% online daily free afterschool programming, and content is accessible for anyone. Like #SCORESATHOME, content often has a series of Soccer and Writing Activities to keep youth fit in mind and body. Further, SCORES has been experimenting with different content and delivery mechanisms, including offline, at several of their local programs. Click on the following city links to view where the content is being generated -- Chicago, Cleveland, DC, LA - currently just re-purposing DC content, NYC and San Francisco Bay area

Baltimore Community Rowing (BCR) (Posted 3/24/20) is a co-ed community-based rowing program in Baltimore City that promotes the sport of rowing for fitness, competition, and recreation to middle school and high school students in the Baltimore metro area. BCR Juniors pulls middle and high school students from public and private schools, providing scholarship assistance and transportation as needed.  BCR has been using for years TeamSnap, a sports management app, and CoachesEye, a smartphone app, to stay connected with the youth in their program

TeamSnap is used to coordinate the team schedule and communication. Each rower and their parents/guardians are included in the team roster at the start of the season. The roster allows the coaches to customize our communication, sending emails, texts, or group chats to the entire team, parents only, athletes only, or one-on-one communication directly with a specific parent or athlete or small groups of either.

Coach’s Eye is a smartphone app that enables the athlete/coach to upload a sports video, slow it down, record commentary, and even mark on the screen. The user can save all of the commentary/mark up as a new video and send it/post it to their team. BCR is looking to have youth in their program to shoot video of them practicing to send to coaches to comment.

My G.I.R.L.S. in Baltimore (Posted 3/24/20) offers competitive cheering ages 3 – 17 through Zoom once a week to hold virtual practices. Further the program is using Facebook and Instagram to post challenges and their girls can post videos in response to the challenge, and then My G.I.R.L.S. repost them on their social media. The girls pick the challenge of a combined dance and aerobatic routine, and coaches even engage in the challenges to, but often leave the aerobatics to the girls.

Playworks (Posted 3/24/20) has provided free video tutorials of games that follow CDC guidelines and can be played at home with little to no equipment. Playworks also has provided a printable Play at Home Playbook to download that features these games.

Further, a free virtual recess with Playworks live is provided on Facebook at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Central Monday-Friday. Here is an example of what it feels like for children following along.

Soccer Without Borders Baltimore (Posted 3/24/20) serves high school and middle school students, most of whom are English Language Learners. It is using Facebook to engage daily via cell phones with the youth in their program – including their 100 middle schoolers. One example of academic engagement includes a Word of the Day where kids are provided a word to learn and apply in a sentence. SWB Baltimore has also upgraded their Zoom account so that teams can have virtual practices/workouts together.

Also, SWB has formed Facebook groups per team so that coaches can have a regular two-way audio/video communication with their team. Other uses include assigning a research report on a soccer player for them to write up. Finally, SWB posts soccer skill lessons that kids can practice at home. Kids can then earn points by participating in all activities that lead to awards. During the first week of closing, there has been a high percentage of youth connecting to their Facebook postings and communications.


Operations/Fund Raising

Aspen Institute's Project Play (5/15/20) It has been 2 month and counting since the U.S. shuttering in place, and discussion has begun when and how to loosen restrictions. Aspen's Project Play webinar, How Should Youth Sports Return to Play, provides thoughtful explanation on the health and legal issues and solutions to consider when making such a decision. Webinar Replay Written Recap

Project Play also has created a COVID-19 Assessment Tool that provides lowest, medium and highest return to play risk for select fitness activities and sports. Download

America SCORES (Posted 5/4/20) April Soccer Coaches Summit attracted nearly 8,000 attendees and tens of thousands of dollars in program donations. Further replays of the Summit can be accessed anytime by purchasing a donor pass for $129.00.

DC SCORES (Posted 5/4/20) held on April 30, Our Words Our City LIVE, a video performance of their poet-athletes, alumni and professional spoken word artists. Viewing was free, but had $20,000 commitments to match donations made that night. There were 2,100 viewers, 150 individual donors, over $50,000 raised. Can still see the video for free.

Good Sports (Posted 5/1/20) is committed to restoring play as quickly as possible once sports come back on line. As a national nonprofit that donates brand-new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear, Good Sports is encouraging programs to apply now for equipment needs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Since its inception in 2003, Good Sports has supported more than seven million kids in all 50 states with more than $50 million in equipment.

Volunteer Engagement During COVID-19 (Posted 4/13/20) Sterling Volunteers has made available its webinar on demand providing examples and tips for volunteer engagement practices during COVID-19. Sterling provides background checks on nonprofit volunteers and staff and is a YSCN partner providing preferred pricing for YSCN members. To learn more about Sterling's services go to Sterling Screening.

Holding a Virtual Silent Auction (Updated Post 4/13/20) - Community Brands has made available research and webinars on conducting silent auctions. Research on silent auctions is broken down by regions such as Northwest and Northeast on what type of auction items are most popular and which time of year based on dollars raised. 

We also wanted to send along some supporting resources: 

Data Collection/Analysis Tools (Posted 4/8/20) UpMetrics is offering nonprofits free access to its analytics platform through the end of the year. Nonprofits can sign up here, view a quick video for more details, and see an example of impact + fundraising profile. Platform tracks key data points, visualize data and then seamlessly share program impact with key stakeholders. 

Professional Development for Staff (Posted 3/31/20) Buffalo City Swim Racers is using this time separated from their kids to focus on professional development of their staff. Goal is to strengthen their staff's base knowledge and professionalism upon returning from the crisis. They are working toward offering the following and paying staff half salary:

  • Sexual harrassment training,
  • American Swim Coaches Association online learning,
  • USA Swimming webinars
  • Ted Talks on relationship building, character development, mental health, pyhysical health as well as diversity, equity and inclusion - contact [email protected] for list of these videos,
  • Creation of an employee handbook,
  • Updating coaching certifications,
  • Sharing Buffalo City's Strategic plan, and
  • Sharing GoSwim videos.

Managing Fund Raising in a Pandemic (Posted 3/24/20) - This blog posting comes from accounting and financial advisory firm Marcum LLP.

Government Resources

Youth Sports Recovery & Relief Request (Updated 5/15/20) Following an initial April letter to the Senate and House leadership to provide funding for youth sports by over 400 youth sports organizations, several thousand youth sports nonprofits joined the Play Sports Coalition including the Youth Sports Collaborative Network, America SCORES, Girls on the Run, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and Up2Us. The letter calls upon Congress to:

  • Extend the existing CARES Act programs to create an $8.5 billion recovery fund for the youth sports sector, with priority consideration given to programs serving under served communities such as girls, youth with disabilities and at-risk youth and
  • Create a Youth Sports COVID-19 Task Force to establish guidelines and protocols for the safe return and continuation of youth sports programs.

A copy of the letter which lists current signatory organizations is available for review --  Youth Sports Relief and Recovery Sign On Letter 4.20.2020 Senate final.pdf.  The letter stresses the benefits of youth sports and the disparity of participation among youth based on family income -- a suggestion by YSCN. It also recommends "Priority consideration in the disbursement of these funds will be given to the programs serving underserved communities."

In May four members of the House, 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats, agreed to author a letter subsequently co-signed by 23 other House members. The letter was sent May 9 to the House and Senate Leadership requesting that 4th stimulus package include youth sports. The letter at the end commits  "to ensure priority consideration in the disbursement of these funds will be given to programs focusing on underserved communities." Read the Letter by scrolling down the linked web page to Our Solution.

Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill (CARES) (Updated 4/22/20) was passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 28th. The new law has several sections providing financial relief through loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for nonprofits with less than 500 employees. One of these programs includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a lending program to cover 8 weeks of payroll expenses. On April 15th the SBA announced it was no longer accepting applications as it use up all of the $349 billion that Congress Allocated. On April 21st, the Senate passed new legislation that authorized another $310 billion. The House is expected to pass this legislation on Thursday, the 23rd.

You should check the SBA website to see if it will be accepting new applications. The new authorized money may be going to the applications already accepted but not approved.

NOTE: On April 15, SBA announced all money had been allocated to PPP applications. No more applications are being accepted. However, Congress is working on appropriating new funding. This section will be updated if that happens.

NOTE: Effective April 10 self employed/independent contractors getting 1099s can now file directly for the Paycheck Protection Program as well.  Go here for details.

SBA started accepting applications for nonprofits and small businesses on April 3rd. Here is a core list of requirements for PPP:

  • Nonprofit must retain or rehire employees at full salary level for the full 8 weeks,
  • Loan will be fully forgiven if used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities and at least 75% go towards payroll costs,
  • Loan must be used 8 weeks following the date loan is disbursed to the nonprofit before June 30, 2020,
  • It is advised the careful records are kept on payroll use to demonstrate loan was spent properly to qualify for forgiveness,
  • Nonprofit must obtain loan from a bank that is authorized by the SBA. Go to this link to locate a bank in your community or you have a current relationship,
  • The loan amount requested is based on the monthly average of payroll costs over a year period (February 1, 2019 - January 30, 2020) multiplied by 2.5.  Note 1099 staff do not qualify for nonprofit calculation. Click on following for a sample excel spreadsheet to calculate your costs -  SBA PPP loan - payroll cost SAMPLE.xlsx,
  • Review and assemble documents and information SBA can require from you with your application and
  • Fill out an application from the Small Business Administration.

Go to the Maryland Nonprofits web site for more detail

Don't Delay Applying!! The program is for small businesses and nonprofits. Once the $349 billion is loaned out, there is no more money.

State Sites to Access Meals (Posted 4/3/20) - Though schools are closed, there is a growing list of states with their locations and hours that are continuing school meal programs. These two resources provide updated locations in all states where meals are being offered:

  • The Food Research and Action Center provides an interactive U.S. map. Click on the state of interest and a box pops out that includes a list of approved sites that you click on to obtain that state's location.
  • Columbia University's Teachers College is another site that provides a listing of school districts by state with links to more information on meals distribution at that district.