Southern California Youth Rugby Named STRIVE Organization of the Year


Photo credit Trina Flowers

STUART, FL — Southern California Youth Rugby (SCYR) was honored this week as the 2016 STRIVE  Organization of the Year for its “kids first” approach to safety.

The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) presented the award that stands for Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence.

Created in 2006 with more than 15,000 youth athletes, Southern California Youth Rugby (SCYS) prides itself as representing the unique sport of rugby, with a culture of honor and respect for self, teammates, coaches, opposing teams and referees that transcends any other American sport.

Presented by NCYS and sponsored by AIG, the STRIVE Award for Organization of the Year, now in its fifth year, honors youth and amateur sports organizations that demonstrate a heartfelt passion, an enthusiastic commitment and a contagious spirit to help kids succeed in amateur youth sports activities while keeping young athletes safe.

During the 30-day month of June voting period, a record number of 32,400 votes were cast on the NCYS STRIVE Award website to determine the winning organization from the top five finalists.

“With special thanks to our NCYS sponsor AIG, this award recognizes an organizations’ commitment to kids’ health, wellness and safety, demonstrating to young people that Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence (STRIVE) in a safe, fun, positive environment,” said Sally Johnson, Executive Director of NCYS.  “The Southern California Youth Rugby organization has demonstrated a heartfelt passion and a contagious spirit for helping kids succeed in youth sports activities while maintaining a focused commitment to establish an impressive variety of safety procedures. We are certain they will continue to advance the vital role integrity, sportsmanship, safety, life skills as well as sport skills play to enhance the youth sports experience in a more wholesome society.”

“We are delighted that Southern California Youth Rugby has been named as the recipient of the 2016 STRIVE Organization of the Year. The organization is committed to implementing safe, responsible and dependable best practices, policies and procedures, as well as a positive culture, esteem values and a high standard of behavior,” said Frank Scalia, AIG’s Group Benefits Vice President and Head of Accident Sales. “We are proud to help honor an organization dedicated to the success and safety of young athletes on and off the court and help bring greater awareness to the positive benefits of amateur youth sports.”

The search for the 2016 STRIVE Organization of the Year Award winner began in March 2016 with a nomination period calling for youth and amateur sports organizations that have implemented at least three health and safety initiatives within their organization. The NCYS and its sponsor AIG are inspired by the extraordinary quality of the finalists programs. Each organization is a hero in its own right as they genuinely live up to the program name of STRIVE and all that it represents.

The other four of the “Five for STRIVE” finalists were the National Athletic Trainers’ Association-Carrollton Texas; South Forsyth Youth Wrestling Club-Cumming Georgia; Winston-Salem Roadrunners Track Club-Kernersville North Carolina; and
York Jewish Community Center-York Pennsylvania.

The SCYR Player Welfare Program is an innovative program that represents a quantum leap forward in their ability to offer a youth sports experience that is as safe as possible, based on four key elements.

Beginning with the high school season and continuing through the club season, all properly scheduled contact matches will be assigned a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur in athletes.

Online baseline concussion testing for every athlete registered with SCYR (U10 and up) to evaluate the severity of a head injury and to help determine when the athlete can safely return to play.

Use of InjureFree online injury reporting system to log all injury reports submitted by the ATCs covering SCYR matches. The injury report describes the injury, any actions taken by the ATC, and the ATC’s recommendations regarding further assessment or treatment of the injury.

The fourth key element of this ground-breaking program is SCYR’s new PWP Manager, who oversees all aspects of the program planning support, guidance, and management of the protocol.

SCYR is the organizing body responsible for all youth and high school rugby in Southern California. As a State Rugby Organization (SRO), SCYR reports directly to USA Rugby, the sport’s national governing body (NGB) and coordinates with the SCRRS Referee Society and the Southern California Rugby Football Union (adult rugby).

Alexandra Williams serves as the organization’s Executive Director.  She began playing rugby at Harvard, represented the USA for 10 years and three Women’s Rugby World Cups, retiring as the captain and then worked as a coach through two additional World Cups.  Alexandra has enjoyed the transition to the youth level of the game and the opportunity to grow this amazing game at the grass roots level.

The STRIVE Award for Organization of the Year will be presented to Southern California Youth Rugby (SCYR) during The Rugby Weekend November 3-4 in Chicago.