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Communication with participants pre-event helps them know what to expect once they arrive at your program. These communications are key in ensuring programs run smoothly for both the participant and organizer.
- Respond to program inquiries in a timely manner.
- Pre-registered attendees should receive at least one piece of written pre-event communication.
- If your program is part of a grant program, make sure the required data is collected during the registration process.
- We recommend the following communication plan:
- Introductory phone call (2-4 months prior to event)
- Send registration forms (2-4 months prior)
- Email travel details / event schedule (if applicable)
- Send final logistical information about 10 days prior to event
- Phone call to reconfirm attendance (if necessary)
- Do not assume emails have been read
- Include read receipts or requests for a return confirmation email and follow up with phone calls when necessary
We encourage chapters to work with as many local participants as possible to help promote an active community, but occasionally travel arrangements are necessary. Here are a few tips for keeping costs down and maximizing the participant’s experience when planning travel.
- Use airline group desks – When booking travel for groups of 10 or more, group desks allow you to book an itinerary early without requiring the exact names for the tickets. Group itineraries also allow for name changes up to 72 hours* prior to travel. *exact time is airline dependent
- Be considerate of participants when booking flights with layovers. While cost is one factor, consider the participant’s comfort and try to minimize travel to one layover at most. Layovers should be not too long or short, taking into consideration an individuals mobility.
- Confirm whether anyone is bringing a service animal, as the airline and hotel will need to be notified.
- Hotels often offer a non-profit rate as well as a discount for blocks of rooms of 7 or more. Contact individual hotels for more information.
- Disabled Sports USA has a 20% corporate discount through Enterprise which can be used for discounted rental car rates by our chapters.
- Use the code 12C0700 and enter the first 3 letters of our company name (DIS).
- The MSIJSOC (Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center) – TSA will provide security and airport assistance to disabled veterans and members of the armed forces. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with detailed flight itinerary, name of passengers, mobility needs and contact information.
Volunteers are essential to our ability to serve our communities and without them, some of our programs could not exist. That being said, our responsibility to provide our participants with a safe experience means that we must do everything we can to see that our volunteers are well qualified and well trained. To view a full volunteer training module, please visit the Insurance and Risk Management section of our website.
On-Site Best Practices
- Make sure everyone has filled out required paperwork (registration forms, liability waivers, etc) prior to participation
- A minimum of one sport lesson/competition per day should be provided (except travel days).
- Be proactive to ensure everyone is taking part in scheduled activities.
- Discuss individual goals with participants and/or parents and check back in mid-way and at the end to see if goals were met.
- Do not push participants, instructors or volunteers beyond their physical or mental limits.
- If participants become overwhelmed, find a quiet place where they can relax, but still feel included. After an appropriate time, see if they are ready to participate again.
- If host families will be involved, ensure they are aware of any guidelines you have set up.
- Media participation is always voluntary. Participants, volunteers and staff must first sign a media release waiver.
- Youth must have parental consent to be interviewed by media
- Only take photographs of individuals that have signed a media release waiver. If a participant asks to not be photographed, please respect his or her wishes.
On-Site Safety Guidance
Appropriate safety measures must be proactively enforced.
- Chapters should provide a true representation of the services they offer in all marketing materials.
- Do not state you can serve all ages or disabilities if you do not have the trained instructors or correct equipment for all.
- Volunteers and instructors must be qualified, trained and confident in their assigned duties.
- See the Volunteer Training section above
- All equipment should be in good working condition.
- Regular equipment inspections for wear and tear should be documented
- Particular attention should be paid after any incident/accident
- A sample equipment inspection checklist can be found here
- All participants, volunteers and staff should be wearing equipment and clothing appropriate to the sports activity (i.e. helmets, life jackets).
- Facilities should be safe, accessible and in good condition.
- Ensure all permits and licenses for facility access have been secured through the proper channels.
- Prevent participation during adverse weather conditions.
- Take extra precautions towards the end of the day when both instructor and student may be tired.
- When transporting participants, strictly adhere to all traffic laws and safe driving practices.
- Never allow anyone inhibited by drugs or alcohol to participate.
Despite the safest conditions, accidents and emergencies may arise. To ensure immediate treatment, please make sure of the following:
- An emergency procedure plan should be distributed, posted and discussed with staff/volunteers pre-event.
- Emergency contact information for all participants, staff and volunteers should be readily available.
- Medication or treatment should not be administered by staff/volunteers.
- As soon as possible, an incident report form should be filed.
- Fill out all lesson evaluation forms and file in an appropriate place so future instructors can assist the student properly.
- Retain participant and contact information for easy follow-up and grant reporting.
- Send all participants a follow-up email to thank them for participating.
- Create an after-action report to ease program duplication in the future.