What makes a professional stand apart from others in their field? Of course, they’ll have the skills and the hands-on experience to be successful, but true professionals don’t stop there. In fact, they never stop – especially when it comes to learning.

Play Rugby USA brings together a passionate group of people committed to building a fun, open and caring community with youth, their families and supporters.We encourage everyone in our community to embrace a Go Forward Attitude, one of continual growth and learning, and particularly those on the front lines of our youth programming: Youth Development Mentors (YDM).


These sport coaches and mentors seek to build an enjoyable and safe space that promotes camaraderie, teamwork, positive habits and team ownership through skill development. Since 2005 our program has grown from serving 50 youth on the weekend to delivering programming to 4,500 students after school each week during our peak season. With this growth comes the need to help our staff develop further skills and gain experience critical to building and delivering a high quality program.


This year we introduced a new position, a Youth Development Mentor Facilitator (YDMf) to improve the way we interact with students every day. A YDMf is an experienced YDM that has proven skills in the field working with our students and models the behaviors we are looking for. We work with and train these YDMs to be able to identify these skills in others, and help develop them in areas that need improvement, in order to be able to deliver the highest quality youth development sessions, ultimately making PRUSA better and giving our students all the opportunities they deserve.

The YDMf will welcome new potential YDMs by guiding them through a 10 hour volunteering and shadowing process,
working with youth in our NYC programs. They will also deliver professional development trainings for staff and external partners to continue to expand the reach of Play Rugby’s positive youth programming.

YDMfs build capacity and strengthen our overall organization by providing support to the heart of our program: Youth Development Mentors.

There are other important staff development opportunities that build capacity in our organization, including Coaching Certification courses sanctioned by USA Rugby. We recently hosted a Level 200 certification, which consists of online pre-course work and attendance at an in-person clinic. The course structure helps to blend the “how to coach” theory with the practical implementation of coaching Rugby.


The Level 200 Coach Certification focuses on player welfare and teaching players the technical skills to play safely. The assessment requires coaches to demonstrate effective coaching techniques. These techniques include teaching through games, technical skill development through progressions and collaborative coaching.


We were fortunate enough to send 4 Youth Development Mentors to this workshop, and hope to be able to certify all YDMs who work in our programs to build up the coaching standard and ensure the highest quality youth development programming possible.


Research suggests that mentoring helps young people, especially at-risk youth, succeed in school, work, and life. At Play Rugby USA we’re committed to equipping our Youth Development Mentors with the tools they need to make a positive impact in the lives of the more than 4,500 youth we serve. You can help us continue to provide professional development opportunities to our staff with a donation to the Play Rugby Fund. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and ensures we can continue to Go Forward Together.


Learn more and make your gift here.



Posted in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *