Contact:  Jeff Mielke, Lee County Sports Authority
               (239) 344-5201


FORT MYERS, Fla. (April 27, 2004) - Lee County Parks & Recreation is implementing a national program that implements a code of conduct for coaches and parent involved in youth sports.

The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) conduct training programs have been used by more than 1.3 million coaches nationwide. The goals is to ensure that every child who uses a Lee County sports facility has a safe and rewarding experience and that the philosophy of youth sports programs should focus on putting the needs of the children first.

The Board of Lee County Commissioners, at its meeting today, passed a resolution embracing the NAYS concept and supporting a pilot program being administered by Parks & Recreation. (See link to resolution

The parks & recreation departments of the five local cities also are supporting the initiative and will take similar resolutions to their councils.

More than 3,300 community based groups such as parks and recreation departments, Boys and Girls Clubs and youth leagues have partnered with NAYS to provide training programs at the local level.

Currently the program covers two main areas. The National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) focuses on improving out-of-school sports for participants ages 16 and under by educating volunteer coaches. The Parents Association for Youth Sports (PAYS) focuses on providing education to parents on their roles and responsibilities in youth sports.

By adopting these programs, all coaches and parents affiliated with sports leagues that use Lee County facilities will be held accountable for their behavior at all times.

Currently the Parks & Recreation Department has initiated the NAYS Start Smart Sports Development Program as a pilot initiative. This program is a proven instructional program that prepares children ages 3-5 for the world of organized sports without the threat of competition or the fear of getting hurt. Lee County Parks and Recreation has set a goal of offering this program at all Lee County Community Parks and Recreation Centers by the end of 2004.