COMMUNITY POLICIES

Athlete Deportment During Sport Programming

SOO - Stratford & Area athletes attending sport programming (practices/games) in sports for which they are registered are expected to remain with their fellow athletes, volunteers or caregivers at all times during that activity. Should an athlete need to leave the playing area for a legitimate purpose (e.g., to use the washroom), the athlete/caregiver will advise one of the assigned volunteers of the situation prior to the athlete departing the playing area. The volunteer will then determine whether the athlete requires supervision during their absence from the activity, and, if so, make an arrangement for same. Athletes who are either unable or unwilling to remain with their fellow athletes, volunteers or caregivers during an activity will be excused from that activity for its duration.

Athlete Transfer

For athletes being transported or accompanied to community programming by family or support staff, the responsibility for ensuring safe transfer of care of that athlete to an assigned SOO volunteer rests with the person having transported/accompanied that athlete to the venue. At no time is an athlete to be delivered to or dropped off at a venue without the person having transported/accompanied that athlete to the venue checking that athlete in with an assigned SOO volunteer.

Attendance

SOO - Stratford & Area sport programs run on a weekly basis throughout their respective seasons.  Exceptions to this include statutory holidays, facility closures, weather-related cancellations and other reasons as communicated to the athletes registered in those programs.  

All of our sport programs are volunteer-dependent, with volunteers making season-long commitments to train the athletes under their direct supervision.  Further, sport skill development requires a commitment to weekly training on the part of the athletes registered for that sport.   As such, athletes who register for our programs are expected to make a commitment to attend all scheduled program sessions.   Attendance will be taken each week, with absences noted in various categories (e.g., “A” (absent without notice), “E” (excused, e.g., for illness), “W” (work), “I” (injury), etc.).  Athletes who are unable to attend a given session are expected to notify their head coach (or designate) as far in advance of that session as possible.

Every athlete who wishes to participate in a tournament or competition is required to attend a “clear majority” of the sessions for that sport.   In order to make that determination, noted absences will be categorized as “accepted” (absences that we, as a community, “accept” as part of life outside our programs (e.g., work)) or “approved” (e.g., illness, injury).   Absences that are considered “approved” will not count against an athlete’s attendance record.

Competition Participation

 The basic tenant of SOO - Stratford & Area is that each and every athlete be treated with respect and dignity.  

 In terms of competition participation, and independent of the formal (SOC/SOO) competition rules for that sport, our community expects that every athlete registered for that competition will participate in each game of the competition.   Further, our community expects that playing time will be shared as equally as possible across all participating athletes.   The only accepted exceptions to these requirements are competition sport rules which limit active game rosters or the removal of an athlete for reasons of discipline, injury or illness.  

Individual Athlete Award Selection

Once each calendar year, SOO - Stratford & Area presents individual awards to athletes who, in the opinion of their coaches, have displayed an extraordinary level of dedication to their sport through their consistent attendance, effort, enjoyment and sportsmanship. In selecting their award recipients, coaches are expected to select different athletes each season.  All selections will be reviewed by the Executive Committee to ensure that the award winners meet the award criteria and, when at all possible, awards are distributed fairly across our athlete population.

Meal Provision During Competitions

For competitions hosted by SOO - Stratford & Area, our community absorbs the cost of lunch for all SOO - Stratford & Area athletes, coaches and volunteers who are actively participating in that competition. Others, including those attending specifically to support participating athletes, are expected to provide their own lunch. 

Registration & Participation

SOO - Stratford & Area registers athletes by sport twice per calendar year according to sport season (i.e., summer and winter/spring).

Any individual wishing to participate as an athlete in a sport offered by SOO - Stratford & Area must register through the Community Registrar a minimum of one week (i.e., five working days) in advance of the first session of the season for that sport.  Providing that the athlete is in good standing with SOO, the Community Registrar  will, in turn, submit that athlete’s registration information to the SOO office in order to have that athlete added to the sport club(s) of his or her choice.  

Only athletes whose names appear on the sport club report for that sport are permitted to participate in the activities of that sport club.

Athletes failing to properly register with SOO - Stratford & Area for a given sport season will not be permitted to participate in any sport-related activities during that sport season until the community’s sport registration requirements are met.

Note:  SOO - Stratford & Area reserves the right to limit sport club enrolment on the basis of volunteer availability, facility limitations and the like.

Smoking 

The City of Stratford has declared many of its sport fields, including Anne Hathaway Park, as “smoke free”.   Usage permits issued by both the AMDSB and the HPCDSB state that smoking is not permitted on Board property.  In addition to the above, smoking by SOO-rostered athletes while participating in any SOO-sponsored or sanctioned activities, including, but not limited to, training/practice sessions and competitions, is a violation of the SOO Athlete Code of Conduct.   As such, SOO - Stratford & Area athletes participating in scheduled practices or competitions are not permitted to smoke during practices or during games within a competition.  Athletes who wish to smoke before or after practices, before or after tournament games or while en route to a competition via transportation arranged by SOO - Stratford & Area must remove themselves entirely from other athletes and volunteers and from the practice/competition site.   At the discretion of the head coach/designate, an athlete wishing to smoke may be requested to remove or conceal uniform clothing provided by SOO - Stratford & Area that identifies he or she as a member of our community.

Sport-specific social functions

SOO - Stratford & Area is committed to ensuring that, within the constraints of SOO’s sport structure and seasonal competition opportunities available by sport, all registered athletes are treated as equally as possible.

Independent of the number and type of sports in which an athlete registers each sport season, it is the policy of SOO - Stratford & Area that each athlete be afforded the same non-sport experience.   As such, and independent of the source of the funding for same, sport volunteers are discouraged from holding seasonal and/or year-end social functions for their sport athletes.  Sport volunteers are requested to disseminate information regarding and encourage the attendance of their athletes at the yearly SOO - Stratford & Area sport banquet at which every athlete who has actively participated in one or more sports over that calendar year will be duly recognized. 

Travel

SOO - Stratford & Area uses the services of professional transportation companies and their drivers to transport our athletes and volunteers to and from the majority of SOO competitions.   Currently, the only exception to that arrangement occurs when the number of attending athletes does not warrant the booking of a large vehicle, in which case private vehicles are used.

Transporting our athletes and volunteers via professional transportation companies provides our community members with the following:

·       A professional transportation service which assumes liability for vehicular events occurring en route

·       Trained drivers who are certified employees of the hired transportation service

·       An assurance that all of our athletes and volunteers arrive on-site at the same time

·       Adequate supervision of all participating athletes based on SOO’s stated athlete: coach travel ratio

·       Exposure of athletes to the full “SOO athlete” experience

As such:

i)        SOO - Stratford & Area athletes attending competitions for which transportation (e.g., bus, private vehicle) has been arranged by the community are expected to travel by said transportation.   Requests for exceptions to this travel policy will be entertained on a case-by-case basis.   Such requests must be made in writing to the Community Coordinator in sufficient time in advance of the travel date to allow consultation with other members of the SOO – Stratford & Area Executive Committee.

ii)      Non-rostered athletes (i.e., those not registered with that sport club for that season) are not permitted to travel to and from competitions with rostered SOO – Stratford & Area athletes. 

Updating of Contact and Personal Information

It is extremely important that our community maintain accurate and current records for all of our registered athletes. For athletes who live independently, it is the athlete’s responsibility to communicate changes in their personal information to our community. For athletes who live with support, it is the responsibility of the athlete’s caregiver to communicate to our community any changes in the athlete’s contact or personal information. In all cases, updates are to be communicated to a representative of SOO - Stratford & Area (e.g., the Community Coordinator, Registrar, athlete’s Head Coach, etc.).

Use of Personal Electronic Devices During Programming

Use of personal electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, tablets, electronic games and so on) by SOO - Stratford & Area athletes and volunteers is not permitted during any sport programming. Use of a cell phone or tablet by a volunteer for a purpose directly related to either Special Olympics or an emergency situation is acceptable.

Use of schools

Only rostered athletes, registered SOO - Stratford & Area volunteers and caregivers of rostered athletes are permitted access to AMDSB and HPCDSB schools during SOO - Stratford & Area sport practices.

Volunteer Procedures for Contacting Athletes Living With Support

In cases in which sport coaches/managers must contact athletes directly (e.g., cancellations, changes in scheduling, etc.), the coach/manager relies on contact information provided for each athlete during that season’s sport registration. For athletes living with support, should the coach/manager be unable to make personal contact with a caregiver, he/she is to contact the community Registrar or Community Coordinator to obtain an alternate contact number.