Next month the national Youth Conference on the Game is being held in nearby Carmel, Indiana.
A quick review of Wisconsin shows that youth participation continues to grow steadily. Rugby Magazine recently conducted a state-by-state census and found that Wisconsin teams grew 16% from 2006-2010. The high school girls league showed the most growth, peaking at 12 teams this fall. The Badgerland boys high school conference has 15 teams in the Madison and Milwaukee area, while the Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Conference now boasts 12 programs in the Green Bay and Fox Cities area.
This census did not account for some youth programs run through local park and rec organizations, since they are not considered official clubs in their own right. The Fond Du Lac rugby club has been offering elementary age kids a program for years, as has the Waukesha County Park and Rec Dept each summer.
One area where Wisconsin differs from other states, at this time, is organizationally. The three high school organizations run independently of one other. This decentralized approach has resulted in substantial growth. What's interesting is that all of Wisconsin's bordering states have moved in a new direction, forming State-Based-Organizations like Rugby Indiana or Illinois Youth Rugby. Their sole focus is the growth of high school and youth rugby. 26 States now have chartered SBO's.
In the long run, will these other states outpace Wisconsin's growth, because they have paid administrators organizing and promoting the sport? A recent example: Rugby Indiana hired a professional executive director in January 2009.
These issues and more will be discussed at the national Youth Conference on the Game (YCOG). It is an annual event held for all those involved in youth and high school rugby. This conference provides professional development workshops and presentations to better the game at the youth level.
When and Where is the YCOG?
The 2011 YCOG will be held on the following dates:
January 21-23, 2011
What is the agenda for the YCOG?
The agenda includes:
Workshops and Discussions on Game Development
High School Coaching Course Modules
Rookie Rugby 7s Launch (Introduction to Contact)
Youth Referee Certification
Concussion and Safety Information
CEUs for Coaches