After one presentation during Nova Scotia’s first Safe Sport Month in October, Elana Liberman had a parent reach out to say their teenage athlete wanted to get involved in safe sport.
That’s exactly the goal of the month, Liberman says: to encourage sport participants of all ages that they can help make sport safer.
“We want people to start talking about it,” says Liberman, the Safe Sport Lead with Sport Nova Scotia. “We want people to start recognizing it’s everybody’s responsibility.”
As part of celebrating and promoting safe sport, Sport Nova Scotia launched a new website dedicated to supporting the physical, social and emotional welfare of all sport participants. A video promoting safe sport was also launched across social media platforms, drawing more than 7,500 views on Facebook.
“The fact that people are talking about it to me is one of the goals,” Liberman says. “The video was a great kickoff.”
As with everything else, the pandemic posed challenges around how to engage people in the month’s activities, but it also created opportunities. Liberman was pleased with the turnout for four webinars offered throughout the month: a safe sport overview, a True Sport approach to the coach-parent relationship, a workshop on the hidden culture of bullying in sports, and a panel on the Black sport experience.
“I’m happy that people over the past few months have taken the time to take training,” Liberman says. “I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘We have some time now, so let’s do it.’”
The diversity of topics during Safe Sport Month reflects how safe sport isn’t just about preventing harm: it’s about making sport welcoming, inclusive and accessible for everyone.
“The absence of harm is not good enough,” Liberman says. “We want sport to be a great experience. With more people talking about it, I think we’re on the way.”
All four webinars are available to watch on the Safe Sport website. Liberman is already thinking about how to structure the next Safe Sport Month. The provincial safe sport working group is at work on safe sport policies and standards to apply across Nova Scotia, with education and training to come with them.
“There’s more coming down the pipe,” Liberman says. “I’ve been really pleased with the feedback so far, and I want to see the discussions continue.”