By Ju’Riese Colon, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Center for SafeSport
Elevating athlete safety across every sport is a team effort. With the goal of fostering a safer sport culture, we invited sport leaders from around the country to Denver to participate in the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s 2023 National Governing Body Summit where we shared ideas and discussed strategies for creating sport environments where athletes can feel safe, supported, and strengthened.
Our staff led interactive workshops on abuse prevention education, athlete safety policy implementation, accountability through the Center’s response and resolution process, and leveraging data and technology. We took note of the honest feedback leaders in sport shared during these conversations, and are considering their perspectives, as well as those of athletes and survivors, as we work through a thorough review of our processes in the coming months.
April Holmes, Paralympian and Center board chair, moderated an engaging panel discussion on athlete safety with John Carroll, President, Colorado Rush Soccer, and Katy Spaulding, Equestrian and SafeSport Athlete Advisory Team (SAAT) member. John and Katy shared unique perspectives on their own experiences in sport as well as their thoughts on how a new focus on athlete safety is sparking a needed culture shift.
This meeting marked the second in-person NGB Summit since the Center’s inception, and based on the feedback we’ve received from attendees, helped clarify Center processes and fortify trust with stakeholders in the Olympic and Paralympic movement. We are eager to build on this collaborative spirit and momentum as we work to champion respect and foster safe and inclusive sport environments throughout the nation.
Ju’Riese Colón is the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, where since July 2019 she has led the organization’s strategic vision and direction. An experienced child advocate who serves as an expert on issues related to child safety, Ju’Riese has led prevention and outreach initiatives with youth-serving organizations serving families, educators, law enforcement, and diverse communities.