USA Rugby and Rugby Americas North welcome participants for the World Rugby Educators Course in Denver, Colorado today. The course will bring together coaches, referees, and strength and conditioning professionals in one training—a first of its kind for USA Rugby. The three-day workshop is part of the continuing development educators receive as part of the World Rugby’s Competency Accreditation Model.
Kenny Forehand, USA Rugby’s Director of Training and Education, has only been on the job since February, but already his goals and directive are clear—diversify the educator pool and thus better represent the rugby community at large.
“To me the weekend is a big step forward on several levels because this is the most diverse group we’ve ever put through. It’s also the first group in which we really pushed this diversity focus, and so it represents the starting point where our initiatives really take hold.”
Back in February when Forehand first came to the helm, a demographic statistic kept coming back to him. 41 million Americans are Spanish speakers and 11.6 are bilingual. At the time, the region offered little outreach to those individuals. A concerted outreach to females and people of color was also lacking.
Forehand and his department knew that for rugby to truly represent the diverse demographic of America and the region, action needed to be taken. What followed was a targeted outreach to all of the education streams of underrepresented groups in the current training and education landscape.
A focus on demographics wasn’t unique to Forehand. Diversity and inclusion are topics at the forefront of the world’s most pressing conversations, and World Rugby has woven the thread through much of its identity, which includes Solidarity and Respect as two of the sports centerpiece values.
“This weekend does represent that,” said Forehand. “We didn’t just talk about it or make press releases, we went out and said, ‘we want you involved’, and our membership responded. We still have work to do but it’s a starting point.”
The targeted outreach worked, and within 48 hours of opening the application process for the Colorado course, Forehand had 85 applicants. 25 were accepted for this weekend’s training and they will be joined by five trainers and four staff for a full three days of curriculum, analysis and collaboration.
Sourced from Rugby Americas North.