INDIANAPOLIS - The Colts showed their continued support for youth football by hosting USA Football's Indiana State Leadership Forum at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Feb. 20. USA Football is the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels and is the Colts' official youth football development partner.
Thirty-six youth football leaders consisting of commissioners, presidents and board members from across the state gathered at the Colts' practice facility to learn more about USA Football's resources and how the Colts and USA Football can strengthen their organizations. Leading the forum was Scott LeVeque, USA Football's Great Lakes Regional Manager.
"Any time you can get together and learn how others run their organizations, it is really beneficial to your own league," said Donna Miller, executive director of the Kokomo (Ind.) Police Athletic Activities League, who attended her third Indiana forum. "In the end, it is all about the kids and USA Football does a great job of allowing everybody to gain insight on what is happening around the leagues so the kids can have a great experience.
"You can always learn something new, no matter how many forums you attend."
Mike Hawkey, president of Noblesville Elementary Football League, attended the forum for a second time and was once again impressed with how USA Football and the Colts ran the full-day session.
"The value of attending the conference is tremendous," Hawkey said. "To have the opportunity to share ideas with other leagues, such as fundraising and ideas for travel teams, is extremely beneficial. USA Football does a great job with their website and their emphasis on coaching and training, and I can definitely see their program becoming even more valuable in the future."
USA Football's resources include coaching education for football's dedicated volunteers, concussion awareness information, equipment grants, coaching benefits such as online practice planners, and a video drills library, as well as price breaks for the leagues to conduct in-depth background checks on potential volunteers.
"With the support from the Colts and every NFL team, we're helping unify youth football," said USA Football's LeVeque.
"Ultimately it's the kids who love to play this game who benefit from these forums – they're going to enjoy the sport more if their coaches and league commissioners are prepared and offer them the proper guidance," LeVeque added.
The full-day event and discussion allows attendees to take information back to their respective leagues for the 2010 season.
LeVeque and league commissioners also discussed items such as the best ways to promote player sign-ups, pre- and post-season events, guidance for fundraising, coaching and officiating training resources and national youth football playing standards.
At each of USA Football's state forums, one commissioner is selected to attend the NFL/USA Football Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio, taking place in July. Approximately 200 coaches and administrators from every state are invited to take part in this annual event to discuss topics vital to the continued success of youth and high school football programs. Indianapolis resident Peter Harris, the athletic director at Lions Home School Football Club, was selected to attend the Summit.
To learn more about USA Football or to have a regional manager meet with your league's leadership, visit www.usafootball.com.