CATS Gym Safe Sport Policies 


For 30 years, Colorado Athletic Training School (CATS) has been providing a safe space for children to play, thrive, gain valuable life skills, and for many, to achieve their dreams. In light of recent and tragic events in the gymnastics and youth sport’s world, we wanted to assure you, that your child’s safety is still and has always been CATS number one priority. 

CATS Gymnastics Safe Sport & Participant Policies are above and beyond industry standards and are outlined below. We want athletes, parents, and coaches to feel safe and respected; and to provide a space where all can thrive -- physically, emotionally, and socially. 

 

When creating CATS Gym Safe Sport & Participant Policy, we believe we did our due diligence and went above and beyond industry standards. Details are summarized below:
•    Incorporates USA Gymnastics’ safe sport initiatives which also incorporates the authority and jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for Safe Sport;
•    Conferred one on one with leaders in Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention, whose expertise provides clear guidelines, and offers greater insight into appropriate expectations for adult professionals who work with children. Also, attended Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention workshop.
•    Speaking to other respected gyms regarding policies; 
•    Reviewing childhood sexual prevention literature;
•    Consulting with lawyers; 
•    Meeting with many of you, our valued and respected parents.

CATS PROACTIVE POLICIES FOR PROTECTING OUR ATHLETES:


We trust and value our staff, but still, Rob Candelaria, CATS Owner/Founder/Head Team Coach, and Wendy Rein, Program Director and coach for 25 years, are extremely cautious about ensuring the safety of our gymnasts. Our hearts, our athletes, our gym, our loyal families, are all too valued and precious to us, not to be. 

We control and closely monitor every aspect of the management, policy-making, and coaching of CATS athletes. In addition to abiding by USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Recommendations we have implemented the following precautions to ensure our athletes are safe while they are at CATS.

CATS Proactive Policies For Protecting Against Sexual Misconduct:


Policies we implement tailored specifically to the sport of gymnastics sets standards for professional boundaries that eliminate opportunity for impropriety, boundary violations, and grooming tactics. 


1.    Staff Hiring Procedures: 

  • We check referrals;

  • We check work history going back up to 7-10 years;

  • We hire on a temporary basis anywhere from 30-90 days to ensure the relationship is a good fit;

  • Criminal Background Screening:  Mandated for all of our staff over the age of 18, a criminal background screening is conducted through National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI). Through NCSI, candidates are screened for previous criminal behavior, including sex offender registry and identity verification. 


2.    Staff Education: All permanent staff are required to have the following coursework and certifications. 

  • U.S. Center for Safe Sport Certified

  • Concussion Course Certified

  • First Aid and CPR Certified

  • USA Gymnastics Safety Certified

  • USA Gymnastics U100 Introduction to Gymnastics Coaching Course Certified

  • Positive Coaching Alliance Certified (Not required by those not teaching classes.)


3.    One-on-One Interactions:

  • Adult staff are not permitted to be alone with a Minor in any setting, including any place that is unrelated to the professional association (i.e., a social setting outside training or competitive environment). A gymnastics related activity conducted within the view and/or earshot of another adult is not considered a one-on-one interaction if it presents a meaningful opportunity for interruption.

  • Minors are never allowed in the gym alone. A staff person must be present and one other adult (parent, nanny) or staff member. This includes private lessons. 

  • CATS adult staff may not socialize with a Minor outside of CATS unless the team (comprising of parents, gym directors/owners, coaches) are all in the know and it involves a group of athletes. 

  • Parents are always welcome to observe classes from CATS viewing area upstairs. 

  • In group social situations organized by CATS Gym, parents are welcome to join. 

  • Whenever possible, coaches refer to athletes by their given name, versus a nick-name. 


4.    Social Media and Electronic Communications:

  • Emails, texts, and posts must be transparent, professional and related to CATS, gymnastics activities, or events (team building included.) 

  • Electronic communication between CATS adult staff and athletes is monitored by CATS management (CATS management is cced on communications.)

  • CATS adult staff may not have out-of-program contact with gymnasts on social media. (For example, general communication regarding a gymnastics activity or event via a club’s social media account is acceptable, but private communication via a coach’s and/or an athlete’s personal social media account is not acceptable.) 

  • Parents and guardians have the right to request that their child not be contacted in any form of electronic communications, or certain information about their child that they designate not be distributed in any form of electronic communications. All such requests will be honored.


5.    Online Technology, Photography and/or Videography

Personal cell phones and iPads by adult CATS Staff are not permitted on the gym floor for any reason, unless approved by CATS owner for the following reasons:

  • Floor coaching staff use a cell phone to link with speakers in order to play floor exercise music. Those phones are in airplane mode while they are on the workout floor. We are working on a solution to this. 

  • CATS uses online technology for its classroom management that includes: daily class attendance, lesson plans, and daily schedules. CATS iPad’s have been installed throughout the gym floor so coaches have access to the technology. 

  • CATS coaches and team athletes use the same iPads for visual recording of gymnastics skills and choreography for progression assessment. This is for professional gymnastics use only. Videos may be sent directly to the parent or athlete for future use by athlete. All images are required to be deleted from CATS equipment after each use. 

  • Photographs or videos may only be taken (a) in public view (b) if they observe accepted standards of decency and professionalism for sport specific appropriate needs. 

  • Examples of photos that should be deleted or edited to omit the inappropriate subject matter: open straddle position, images with misplaced apparel or where undergarments are showing, suggestive or provocative poses, any image where the genital area is prominent.

  • Management/owner (aka Wendy) takes photos at special events for gym’s social media needs. Special events include: competitions, team building events, camp, workshops, classes, Families always have the right to decline having their athlete’s image used for this purpose. Requests are sent via email. 


6.    Gifting.

  • Gift-giving or providing special favors or privileges to individual gymnasts is prohibited. Offering a team incentive is permitted (example: a sticker or jellybean offered for 5 pull ups.)


7.    CATS Athlete Empowerment Policy

  • Students are never required to do any thing they aren’t comfortable doing. Examples include: hands are slipping from a bar, the beam is too high, not comfortable with shaping or spotting technique used, or no reason needed. Even at the earliest levels of gymnastics training, athletes are taught to use a safe word, “STOP”. When CATS coaches hear that word, everything stops and the student communicates their concerns. The concern is addressed. A solution is found that allows the athlete to be comfortable. 

  • Athletes who unduly place themselves in an unsafe condition may be asked to leave the floor. A parent or guardian may be asked to step in, in this instance. 


8.    Prevention and Security

  • Security camera surveillance is EVERYWHERE, except bathrooms; with live video feed monitoring accessible to management/owners from anywhere there is WIFI. It is also used regularly to ensure that classes are running to our high expectations. 

  • Athletes within the same group are not permitted to use the bathroom at the same time, unless it is break or they are washing hands after bars, On-site owners and management.


9. Bathrooms/Changing Areas: 


Applies to campers on the swim date only, or to very young minors who have a bathroom accident.

  • Interactions between CATS staff and gymnasts should not occur in any room where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy such as the restroom, locker room, or changing area. 

  • In the case of a bathroom accident with a young minor, where the parent or legal guardian is not available, a second adult is present for any necessary interaction between adult staff and a gymnast in any such room.

  • The use of recording devices of any kind in any such room is strictly prohibited.


10. Massage/Icing/Taping:

  • Any icing, taping, massage performed on a gymnast by coaching staff is conducted in open public locations. 

  • Icing and taping near intimate areas of an athlete’s body is not permitted by CATS staff. 


11. Stretching and Other Physical Contact:


Physical contact that is reasonably intended to coach, teach or demonstrate a gymnastics skill or to prevent or lessen injury (e.g. shaping, spotting, catching) is permissible. Infrequent, non-intentional physical contact, particularly contact that arises out of an error or a misjudgment on the part of the gymnast, participant, or coach, does not violate this policy. Acknowledgment and an apology is an expected courtesy. 


CATS staff should take care to prevent any compromising positions while stretching or closely interacting with gymnasts and avoid:

  • Laying or sitting on top of the gymnast

  • Facing the gymnast while he/she is in a static straddle position

  • Lap sitting

  • Pats on the bottom

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us with concerns and comments. It has allowed us to improve and to continue to be in the forefront of keeping athletes safe, challenged, and enthusiastic for athletics.

Questions or concerns? Please reach out to us at catsboulder@gmail.com or give us a call, 303-939-9699