COLUMNS // BROOMSTACKING IN THE USA SafeSport: Keeping curling safe for everyone

By Bobbie R. Todd, U.S. Curling News columnist

and during broomstacking. Tis is exemplified when the same team that kicked your butt will sit down with you when it’s over, and tell you how you can do better in your next match. In fact, I remember having a team that beat my team cheer us on in our next match during my first bonspiel. Te values of “good sportsmanship . . . mutual re- spect, courtesy, and tolerance”* are part of what make curling so great. And, these values, as well as an aversion to abuse and harassment, are what drives USA Curling’s SafeSport program. SafeSport is a program that was developed


to “protect athletes, volunteers, and staff while participating in events conducted under the aus- pices of the [United States Curling Association] including championships, curling camps, and educational clinics” from sexual abuse, sexual harassment, physical abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, hazing, and harassment, among other things. Te SafeSport guidelines also apply to individuals who are: 1) certified by USA Curling as coaches, instructors, ice makers, or officials, AND 2) are functioning in that USA Curling certified capacity at a bonspiel, at their club, or at another event. USA Curling has a SafeSport handbook which details what the program is and what its requirements are. Te SafeSport handbook contains five main

sections: Abuse and Harassment Guidelines, Recommended Precautions, Educational Aware- ness and Training, Screening Program, and Reporting Policy. Section one of the handbook, Abuse and Harassment Guidelines, gives defini- tions and examples of what constitutes prohib- ited conduct. Te second section, Recommended Precautions, gives suggestions to prevent the op- portunity for abuse and/or harassment to occur. Tings like adequate parental supervision, not putting oneself in potentially problematic situ- ations; even if a situation is benign, preventing the mere appearance of impropriety (as opposed to preventing only the impropriety itself) can go a long way, especially when a contentious situa- tion arises. In keeping with that theme, section two also discusses best practices to “minimize

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ne of the things I appreciate most about the sport of curling is the ca- maraderie. You see it both on the ice

the potential misconduct” in various areas and situations such as locker rooms/changing areas, electronic communications and social media, travel, and appropriate physical conduct. Tis is especially key with the current rise in cyber bul- lying. While this has had minimal impact in the sport of curling thus far, it would not be surpris- ing that a few bad actors could destroy a local community’s involvement in curling. Additionally, in section three, Educational

Awareness and Training, the handbook dis- cusses the role that education plays in preventing abuse and harassment. It also provides require- ments for training. For example, every person that USA Curling authorizes to have author- ity over or frequent contact with athletes has to complete the SafeSport training program online before he or she may participate in a USA Curl- ing sanctioned event or represent USA Curling as a level II or higher coach/instructor at their own club. Te online training for SafeSport takes about 90 minutes to complete, and must be com- pleted “once every four years or more frequently if required by the High Performance Program or other contractual agreement with USA Curl- ing.” Failure to do so will result in “the inability to participate in events conducted under the aus- pices of the USCA.” While this training is fairly brief, it is helpful for individuals who are actively participating, or desire to participate in a leader- ship capacity within the sport of curling. Next, in section four of the handbook, USA

Curling gives details on the background check and screening process that USA Curling has im- plemented. Te screening program is designed to help prevent individuals who should not be in frequent contact with or positions of authority over athletes from being inappropriately placed in such a way. Finally, section five, Reporting Guidelines, sets forth the procedures surround- ing how reports of abuse and/or harassment are handled, including a confidentiality policy. Sec- tion five also gives information that sets forth how allegations made in bad faith are dealt with as well as guidelines for notification of public/ USA Curling membership, if/when necessary. Tese protections are designed to prevent a nega- tive situation from occurring either on the ice or off.

Overall, while much of the SafeSport hand-

book deals with situations involving minors and/ or the imbalance of power (such as between ath-

letes and coaches), “member clubs are encouraged to use [the SafeSport] program as a foundation for club-specific abuse and harassment policies and procedures, as the entire curling community must work cooperatively to promote an environ- ment that is free from such behaviors.” While many members of the curling community have no malicious intent toward others, this resource will hopefully prevent a situation where an indi- vidual is driven from the sport by inappropriate conduct. Together, as a curling community, we can make a difference in the sport by ensuring that proper precautions are taken. Until next time … good curling! Te SafeSport handbook is available on the

USA Curling website at: http://www.teamusa. org/USA-Curling/Sport-Education/SafeSport/ USA-Curling-SafeSport-Handbook. Q * All citations are from the USA Curling Safe- Sport Handbook unless otherwise noted.

History Committee seeks information

Did you know?: Te Grand National Curling Club of Amer-

ica is five days older than Curling Canada, which is also celebrating its 150th

anniversary in

2017. Te Grand National is the oldest govern- ing body for curling in North America. Curling Canada (formerly the Canadian Curling Asso- ciation) was founded in 1935 and is the second oldest governing body in North America. Te United States Women’s Curling Association was formed in 1947. Te United States Curling Association (originally the United States Men’s Curling Association) was founded in 1958. Te World Curling Federation, originally founded in 1966 as the International Curling Federation, changed its name in 1990. Te USCA has created an Ad-Hoc commit-

tee to help collect history about the association and clubs in the association. We are also look- ing for information about who in your club has won regional bonspiels and national events. We will be working on this committee for the next couple years and it would be great to hear from you, the members. You can email Nick Wellen at with information. Q

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